Interesting (and astute) view of the California drought issue from Kelpie Wilson on her site:
The State of California is taking various measures to address the severe drought of 2014. One measure will be grants and subsidies to farmers to improve water delivery systems. But this only addresses the challenge of efficiently getting the reduced water allocation to the field. Better use of water in the field can only be addressed through soil additives like compost or biochar. Compost is helpful, but it must be reapplied with every crop.
An economic return analysis would reveal that biochar pays for itself rather quickly as a drought-proofing measure. Done on a large scale, biochar could help save California agriculture. The cost of applying biochar strategically over time will likely be comparable to the cost of upgrading irrigation systems. Without biochar, more efficient water delivery alone will not be enough to compensate for the reduction in water allocations, now and in the future.