Agriculture & Water

Finding Solutions in the Soil for Food and Water Scarcity




As much of the American West experiences prolonged periods of drought, the study of water, agriculture, and the interconnection between the two is increasingly vital. The California State University continues to lead the state and nation in directed research of agriculture and water resources through the Agricultural Research Institute (ARI) and Water Resources and Policy Initiatives (WRPI).

Collaboration Unlocking Answers

Collaboration is key to developing solutions to overcome California's water and agricultural challenges. As the leading agricultural producer in the United States, estimated at over $50 billion per year, California relies on the world-class research, analysis and policy recommendations provided by the ARI and its six member campuses.

The ARI engages the collective expertise of CSU colleges of agriculture and other related programs across the CSU system, in partnerships with the University of California and US Department of Agriculture (USDA), to conduct research and facilitate technology transfer to improve the economic viability and sustainability of food production in the state.

WRPI faculty, staff and student researchers and policy experts come from all 23 campuses in the CSU. Through its mission to prove academic preparation, applied research and policy development related to water use, WRPI provides the necessary expertise to support California's need for appropriate and sustainable water resources and policy.

Saving Drops for Better Crops

  • Researchers at Cal State Monterey Bay and Fresno State are developing a satellite-based system to gather data and metrics that can help better quantify how water efficiency strategies are working at various spatial scales in agriculture.
  • In a partnership with the industry, researchers at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo are studying the irrigation practices of strawberry growers on California's central coast. The goal is to challenge current sprinkler irrigation methods and introduce drip irrigation.
  • Student and faculty researchers at Cal State San Bernardino tested various water filters to determine the most cost-effective method of removing arsenic, a commonly found contaminant in groundwater that has been found to cause cancer and skin lesions from long-term exposure.
  • Cal Poly Pomona researchers are developing ways to improve the water and nitrogen use efficiency of lettuce through traditional and molecular-aided breeding methods.

Nearly all ARI researchers hire, train and engage students in the research process. Additionally, WRPI internships take place all over the state of California with various USDA agencies, giving students from all 23 CSU campuses as well as the California Community Colleges paid professional experience to augment their classroom learning.