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The Top 10 Ways Farmers Can Conserve Water


by Andrew Ciccone January 17, 2017

Approximately 70% of the world's freshwater is used by the agricultural industry.

It is estimated that 40% of the fresh-water used for agriculture is lost, either by evaporation, spills, or absorption deep down in the soil. The uncertainty of climatic conditions calls for optimal utilization of water. Efficient water management and utilization are needed.  

Sustainability-minded farmers are looking ahead and using an arsenal of methods to conserve water. Here are the Top Ten Ways Farmers Conserve Water:

  1. Drip Irrigation - Drip irrigation systems deliver water directly to a plant’s roots during the cooler times of the day, minimizing water loss. Properly installed drip irrigation save up to 80 % more water than conventional spray water systems, and result in higher crop yields.
  2. Capturing and Storing Water - Properly managed ponds create a natural habitat for wildlife while helping farmers minimize their need and impact on the surrounding watersheds.
  3. Irrigation Scheduling - Intelligent water management is the sustainable management of water resources which involves application of water at the right time, right amount, right place and right manner to increase productivity and water use efficiency along with reduction in energy cost on irrigation.
  4. Drought-Tolerant Crops - Growing crops that are appropriate to the region’s climate is another way that farmers are getting more crop per drop. Crop species that are native to arid regions are naturally drought-tolerant, while other crop varieties (olives, Armenian cucumbers, tepary beans) have been selected over time for their low water needs get more crop per water drop.
  5. Dry Farming - Dry farmers don’t irrigate. Dry farming relies on soil moisture to produce their crops and special tilling practices and careful attention to micro-climates. Dry farming tends to enhance flavors, but produces lower yields (wine grapes, olives, potatoes, and apple trees) than irrigated crops.
  6. Rotational Grazing - Rotational grazing is a process in which livestock are moved between fields to help promote pasture regrowth. Grazing management increases water absorption and decreases water runoff. Increased soil organic matter and better forage cover are also water-saving benefits of rotational grazing.
  7. Compost and Mulch - Compost, or decomposed organic matter (mulch) used as fertilizer improves soil structure while conserving moisture, increases its water-holding capacity.
  8. Cover Crops - Planted to protect soil that would otherwise go bare, cover crops reduce weeds, increase soil fertility and organic matter, and help prevent erosion and compaction.
  9. Conservation Tillage - Conservation tillage uses specialized plows that partially till the soil but leave vegetative crop residue on the surface to help increase water absorption and reduce evaporation, erosion, and compaction.
  10. Going Organic - Organic methods help retain soil moisture while keeping toxic pesticides out of our waterways and improve our groundwater supplies.

The need to conserve water in agriculture and prevent the misuse of water can not be overstated.  Protect and preserve water.

Lets learn from our amazing friends in India who have been dealing with this issue for a long time.

 




Andrew Ciccone
Andrew Ciccone

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