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Water in California Agriculture: A Business Perspective

Jon Reiter, Founder and Principal, Cavalrei

Mar 9 2020 | 11:00am to 12:00pm, PST Bren Hall 1414

Headshot of Jon Reiter
Jon Reiter

Jon brings a unique perspective, as the former CEO of a large fruit and tree nut growing operation in California’s Central Valley, with both a business and legal background. He will share his thoughts on how the landscape is changing for California farmers and innovative solutions involving solar development and urban-ag partnerships between water users, including a project he is developing with the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC). This talk will inspire those interested in California agriculture, water, solar, and eco-entrepreneurship.  
— Emily Cotter, Eco-E Program Manager


Managing water for agricultural irrigation in California has become increasingly more complicated and costly over the last 15 years. Challenges ranging from the aging backbone infrastructure, uncertain environmental regulations, the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, and the looming specter of climate change have all raised the stakes for California’s farmers. To succeed, growers need to identify strategies to reduce the volatility of their water supply and volatility of their water costs and invest in assets that will support that business strategy.


Jon Reiter is founder and principal of Cavalrei, a consultancy offering services in the agriculture, finance, solar and water industries. From 2013 to 2019, Jon served as CEO of Maricopa Orchards, a leading almond, pistachio, and fresh produce grower, where he led a multi-pronged water strategy that included federal and state surface water, long term surface water contracts, and groundwater banking. Previously, Jon was a finance attorney for Milbank, representing developers, lenders, and investors in the water and renewable energy industries. Prior to Milbank, Jon worked for British Telecommunications and O’Melveny. Jon has a BA in Political Science/Environmental Science Policy and Management from UC Berkeley and a JD/MBA from USC. He sits on the boards of Wheeler Ridge Maricopa Water Storage District, the White Wolf Groundwater Sustainability Agency, the Arroyo Pasajero Mutual Water Company, and Sustainable Conservation.

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