John Coelho is leading a decades-long, multi-generational farming career. He’s creating a sustainable operation for the generations that follow him.
John operates Casaca Vineyard with his brother, and thinks strategically about managing water supplies, especially when it comes to correcting groundwater overdraft. In 2017, he created a groundwater recharge pond where he started using his own acreage to recharge the aquifer. In 2022, he built another 320-acre pond. Though there were drought conditions between 2017 and 2022, the wet year in winter 2023 filled both ponds for groundwater recharge.
He says it’s important to be ready to capture surface water so that during wet years he can help keep surface water within the North Fork Kings GSA boundary.
“You’ve got to build it before you need it,” John said.
Landowners may see credits for their efforts down the line as North Fork Kings GSA pursues policies to support landowners who recharge. But for John, groundwater recharge is also a way to ensure sustainability for his family’s future farming operation.
“You want to hand something off to your children that’s sustainable,” John said. “Groundwater recharge provides a long-term solution to keep your operation sustainable.”
Performing groundwater recharge requires proper maintenance, but this maintenance has been worked into Casaca Vineyard’s ongoing operation. He says maintaining the ponds for groundwater recharge is an investment into his community.
“Our family has always believed in giving back to the community. Keeping water in our area is a way to do that,” John said.