How can water be used wisely in agriculture?
· However, almost half of that water consumption is associated with the consumption of meat and dairy products. In the United States alone, animal agriculture water consumption ranges from 36-74 trillion gallons of water annually. To put that in perspective, hydraulic fracturing (fracking) uses about 70-140 billion gallons annually.
How animal agriculture is draining the world of biodiversity?
Source: Mekonnen and Hoekstra (2010) Global animal production requires about 2422 Gm 3 of water per year (87.2% green, 6.2% blue, 6.6% grey water). One third of this volume is for the beef cattle sector; another 19% for the dairy cattle sector. Most of the total volume of water (98%) refers to the water footprint of the feed for the animals.
Is the biggest use of water for agriculture?
· Animal agriculture is responsible for 20 to 33 percent of all fresh water consumption in the world. Because animals are so densely packed on today’s industrial farms, …
What animals can forage for water?
· However, when looking at livestock as a whole, it accounts for just 30% of the 2 quadrillion gallons used for agriculture annually. Water footprints per one animal: Dairy Cow: …
How much water does animal agriculture use per year?
36-74 trillion gallonsIn the United States alone, animal agriculture water consumption ranges from 36-74 trillion gallons of water annually. To put that in perspective, hydraulic fracturing (fracking) uses about 70-140 billion gallons annually.
How much water does livestock production use?
Shock is reasonable after discovering that the global average water footprint – or the total amount of water needed – to produce one pound of beef is 1,800 gallons of water; one pound of pork takes 718 gallons of water. As a comparison, the water footprint of soybeans is 206 gallons; corn is 108 gallons.
How animal agriculture affects water?
Grazing animals and pasture production can negatively affect water quality through erosion and sediment transport into surface waters, through nutrients from urine and feces dropped by the animals and fertility practices associated with production of high-quality pasture, and through pathogens from the wastes.
How much of water is used for agriculture?
70 percentIn most regions of the world, over 70 percent of freshwater is used for agriculture.
How much water does animal agriculture use globally?
Globally, agriculture accounts for 92% of the global freshwater footprint; 29% of the water in agriculture is directly or indirectly used for animal production .
What uses more water plants or animals?
Pound for pound, meat has a much higher water footprint than vegetables, grains or beans. A single pound of beef takes, on average, 1,800 gallons of water to produce. Ninety-eight percent goes to watering the grass, forage and feed that cattle consume over their lifetime.
Does animal agriculture pollute water?
Water can become contaminated by birds, animal droppings, animal carcasses or run-off from bare paddocks, intensive livestock industries or sewerage waste. This can result in low production, disease or deaths in livestock.
Is animal agriculture the leading cause of water pollution?
Agriculture is responsible for almost half of these compromised water sources. Since livestock production requires roughly 80 percent of that agriculture which is polluting the waterways, it is safe to say that animal agriculture is a main cause of water issues.
Do crops use more water than livestock?
Per ton of product, animal products generally have a larger water footprint than crop products. The same is true when we look at the water footprint per calorie. The average water footprint per calorie for beef is twenty times larger than for cereals and starchy roots.
What agriculture uses the most water?
Irrigated agriculture remains the largest user of water globally, a trend encouraged by the fact that farmers in most countries do not pay for the full cost of the water they use.
What is the largest use of water?
Thermoelectric power and irrigation remained the two largest uses of water in 2015, and total withdrawals decreased for thermoelectric power but increased for irrigation.
How does agriculture use water?
The use of agricultural water makes it possible to grow fruits and vegetables and raise livestock, which is a main part of our diet. Agricultural water is used for irrigation, pesticide and fertilizer applications , crop cooling (for example, light irrigation), and frost control.
What is livestock water?
Livestock water use is water associated with livestock watering, feedlots, dairy operations, and other on-farm needs. Livestock includes dairy cows and heifers, beef cattle and calves, sheep and lambs, goats, hogs and pigs, horses, and poultry. Other livestock water uses include cooling of facilities for the animals and products, dairy sanitation and wash down of facilities, animal waste-disposal systems, and incidental water losses. The livestock category excludes on-farm domestic use, lawn and garden watering, and irrigation water use.
What is aquaculture water?
Status: Active. Aquaculture Water Use. Aquaculture water use is water associated with raising organisms that live in water—such as finfish and shellfish— for food, restoration, conservation, or sport.
What is water used for?
The water may be used for drinking, cooling, sanitation, waste disposal, and other needs related to the animals. Estimates of water withdrawals for livestock are needed for water planning and… Below are data or web applications associated with water use.
What is irrigation water used for?
Irrigation water use includes water that is applied by an irrigation system to sustain plant growth in agricultural and horticultural practices . Irrigation also includes water that is used for pre-irrigation, frost protection, chemical application, weed control, field preparation, crop cooling, harvesting, dust suppression, and leaching salts from the root zone. Estimates of irrigation…
What is public supply water?
Public supply refers to water withdrawn by public and private water suppliers that provide water to at least 25 people or have a minimum of 15 connections. Public-supply water is delivered to users for domestic, commercial, and… Contacts: National Water-Use Science Project.
How does the USGS work?
The USGS works in cooperation with local, State, and Federal agencies to collect water-use information, then compiles these data to produce water-use information aggregated at the county, state, and national levels. Every five years, data at the county level are compiled into a national water-use data system and State-level data are published in a national…
How much water does the world need for animal production?
Global animal production requires about 2422 Gm 3 of water per year (87.2% green, 6.2% blue, 6.6% grey water). One third of this volume is for the beef cattle sector; another 19% for the dairy cattle sector. Most of the total volume of water (98%) refers to the water footprint of the feed for the animals. Drinking water for the animals, service water and feed mixing water account only for 1.1%, 0.8% and 0.03%, respectively.
What percentage of water is consumed by animals?
Most of the total volume of water (98%) refers to the water footprint of the feed for the animals. Drinking water for the animals, service water and feed mixing water account only for 1.1%, 0.8% and 0.03%, respectively.
How much larger is the water footprint per gram of protein?
When we look at the water requirements for protein, it has been found that the water footprint per gram of protein for milk, eggs and chicken meat is about 1.5 times larger than for pulses. For beef, the water footprint per gram of protein is 6 times larger than for pulses.
What is the projected increase in the production and consumption of animal products?
The projected increase in the production and consumption of animal products is likely to put further pressure on the globe’s freshwater resources. The size and characteristics of the water footprint vary across animal types and production systems.
Which has a larger water footprint: animal products or crop products?
Per ton of product, animal products generally have a larger water footprint than crop products. The same is true when we look at the water footprint per calorie. The average water footprint per calorie for beef is twenty times larger than for cereals and starchy roots. When we look at the water requirements for protein, …
Does butter have a smaller water footprint than oil?
In the case of fat, butter has a relatively small water footprint per gram of fat, even lower than for oil crops. All other animal products, however, have larger water footprints per gram of fat when compared to oil crops.
How much water does agriculture consume?
Growing crops to feed animals killed for food consumes 56 percent of water in the U.S. Animal agriculture is responsible for 20 to 33 percent of all fresh water consumption in the world.
What percentage of the world’s water is drinkable?
According to National Geographic, 70 percent of the planet is covered by water, but only 2.5 percent of it is fresh. This means a very small percentage of the world’s water is drinkable. While many of us have the luxury of not having to worry about where our water comes from, billions of people aren’t as fortunate.
Why is World Water Day important?
Animal Agriculture Wastes One-Third of Drinkable Water (and 8 Other Facts for World Water Day) World Water Day is meant to raise awareness of the importance of protecting fresh water. Sadly, this valuable resource is under siege by the factory farming industry. According to National Geographic, 70 percent of the planet is covered by water, …
What are the causes of the depletion of fresh water?
While several factors contribute to the depletion of fresh water, one of the main causes is animal agriculture. Don’t believe us? Consider these facts:
How many people lack access to water?
In fact, an estimated three in 10 people worldwide—2.1 billion —lack access to safe drinking water.
Who is responsible for dumping toxic pollutants into our waterways?
Tyson, America’s largest meat producer, is responsible for dumping more toxic pollutants into our waterways than companies like ExxonMobil and Dow Chemical.
Is there such a thing as sustainable meat?
Clearly, there is no such thing as “sustainable meat, and plant-based alternatives to meat, dairy, and eggs take a mere fraction of the resources to produce as their animal-based counterparts.
How much water does agriculture use?
As for water efficiency, a BioScience abstract of “ Water Resources: Agricultural and Environmental Issues ,” published on the Oxford Academic site, states: “Agriculture consumes about 70% of fresh water worldwide; for example, approximately 1000 liters [265 gallons] of water are required to produce 1 kilogram [2.2 pounds] of cereal grain, and 43,000 L [11,359 gallons] to produce 1 kg of beef.”
How much water does the average American drink?
National Geographic water tips claim that the average animal-eating American uses 1,000 gallons (3785 liters) of water for her or his diet and other use per day. Truth or Drought claims that a plant-based dieter only uses 400 gallons (1514 liters) of water per day. National Geographic: “That quarter pounder is worth more than 30 average American showers. One of the easiest ways to slim your water footprint is to eat less meat and dairy.”
How many animals are killed in the US every year?
In the US, there are over 9 billion farmed animals killed per year, and globally, the number is over 55 billion animals who are killed. Manure lagoons never undergo the same treatment as human sewage, and the quantity of animal manure exceeds human manure by 100-fold in the US. According to the US Department of Agriculture, 108,000,000 pounds (49 million kilos) is produced every hour by farmed animals in the US.
Why are rivers polluted?
The aquifer and rivers have become polluted in some areas due to animal agriculture. The reason for this is the manure and urine created by animals that are stored in manure lagoons, which are effectively untreated cesspools, commonly seep into the groundwater, which in turn flows into rivers.
What is the role of local livestock associations in the state legislature?
Truth or Drought continues: “Local livestock associations act as political incubators, stacking the seats on county commissions, launching cattlemen into state legislatures, state and federal administrative positions, and into Congress .” — New Republic journalist Christopher Ketchum.
How many slaughterhouses violate local water pollution limits?
One Green Planet reports: “75% of industrial U.S. slaughterhouses violate local water pollution limits.”. It continues: “One of the many unpleasant realities associated with animals being killed in industrial U.S. slaughterhouses is that the enormous amount of waste they produce has to go somewhere.
What is the average efficiency of livestock converting plant feed to meat?
The average efficiency of livestock converting plant feed to meat is less than 3%. … Agricultural practices are not necessarily at fault here – but our choice of food is.” — Bojana Bajzelj, University of Cambridge researcher.
Why does farming livestock require a lot of water?
Farming livestock requires a considerable amount of water due to the amount of animals that need to be fed, cleaned, and maintained. The water intensive form of farming livestock is dairy farming.
How much water does a cow use?
The water intensive form of farming livestock is dairy farming. For just one milking cow, daily water usage is roughly 40-50 gallons when accounting for basic consumption and hygiene. However, when looking at livestock as a whole, it accounts for just 30% of the 2 quadrillion gallons used for agriculture annually.
How can farmers use water?
Through the process of drip irrigation farmers can supply water directly to the roots of their crops rather than sprinkling the water on top. Through properly installed drip irrigation systems, farmers can save up to 80% more water than standard sprinkler irrigation systems. Additionally, by creating ponds and reservoirs, farmers can draw their supply from there, taking the pressure off of local watersheds.
Why do fruits and vegetables require the most water?
Farming fruits and vegetables requires the most amount of water to keep plants hydrated to produce enough food to feed the country. For example, to grow one pound of coffee 2,500 gallons of water will be used. Plants require consistent amounts of water everyday to take their life cycle from seed all the way to harvest. Another reason why farming produce requires such a large percentage of water when compared to farming livestock due to a large amount of the water being wasted through irrigation.
How can farmers draw their supply from there?
Additionally, by creating ponds and reservoirs, farmers can draw their supply from there, taking the pressure off of local watersheds. As the practice of farming changes, and the number of people on Earth grows, we must continue to look for more ways to conserve and maintain our global water supply.
Why do plants need water?
Plants require consistent amounts of water everyday to take their life cycle from seed all the way to harvest. Another reason why farming produce requires such a large percentage of water when compared to farming livestock due to a large amount of the water being wasted through irrigation.
How much water is lost to the environment?
On average, farms around the world account for 70% of all water that is consumed annually. Of that 70% used by farmers, 40% is lost to the environment due to poor irrigation systems, evaporation, and overall poor water management. As the world continues to increase in population, demand for food and water will continue to rise.
How much of the world’s freshwater is used for agriculture?
Globally, agriculture accounts for 92% of the global freshwater footprint; 29% of the water in agriculture is directly or indirectly used for animal production . On top of the water needs for growing feed, water is needed to mix the animal feed, for maintaining the farm, and for drinking of the animals.
How much less feed is used in poultry production?
For poultry, industrial systems use 3.2 times less feed (dry mass) per unit of output than grazing systems. Grazing production systems use a feed package that contains 40% of concentrates (the average for the four countries considered), while industrial systems have a feed package with 70% of concentrates.
What factors influence the WF of meat?
The second main factor influencing the WF of meat is the WF of the animal feed. This depends on the composition and the origin of the feed. In general, industrial production systems have a relatively large fraction of concentrates in the animal feed and grazing systems a relatively small fraction. Fig. 3 shows the share of concentrate feed in the total feed averaged for China, Brazil, the Netherlands and the US. Irrespective the type of production system, chickens and pigs rely more heavily on concentrates than beef cattle. In industrial pork systems, concentrates make up hundred per cent of the feed.
How is meat WF determined?
The WF of any sort of meat is mostly determined by the feed of the animals. We observe three main explanatory factors behind the WFs of poultry, pork and beef. The first factor is the food conversion efficiency (how much feed dry mass is required to produce meat – irrespective of whether it is grazing forage or concentrates). There is an efficiency increase from grazing to mixed to industrial systems, because less feed is needed to produce a unit of meat as the animals in industrial systems are fed more concentrated feed stuffs, move less, are bred to grow faster and are slaughtered at a younger age. This factor causes a general decrease of the WF of meat from grazing to mixed to industrial systems. The second factor is the feed composition (what the animals eat), more particularly the ratio of concentrates to roughages. There is an increase in the fraction of concentrates in animal feed from grazing to mixed to industrial systems. In general, concentrates have a larger WF than roughage. The second factor contributes to an increase of the WF, especially the blue and grey WF, from grazing and mixed to industrial systems. The third factor is the origin of the feed. The overall effect of the three factors depends on the relative importance of the separate factors, which varies case by case. Specific focus on the blue and grey WFs is warranted because in the case of blue water (groundwater, surface water) agricultural water demands compete with various other human demands for water, like water demands for households and industries.
What determines the WF of meat?
The WF of meat depends on three main factors: (i) how much the animals eat, measured as the feed conversion efficiency, which is defined as the amount of feed dry mass input to produce a unit of meat output, (ii) what the animals eat, i.e. the feed composition and (iii) the feed origin that determines the WF of the livestock feed. The WF at a specific location is determined by local climatic conditions, such as rainfall and temperature, in combination with soil conditions and agricultural practice. In general, high yield levels go along with relatively small WFs and the other way around. The WF of the total feed package depends on the feed composition and the origin of the various feed ingredients. The water use for meat in the rest of the chain, from farm to fork, is a minor part of the total WF of animal products. Fig. 1 schematically shows the factors determining the WF of meat. An important underlying factor is the type of production system, since the type of system influences the feed conversion efficiency, the feed composition and the origin of the feed.
What are the different types of livestock farming?
Following the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), we distinguish three types of livestock farming systems: grazing, mixed and industrial systems . Grazing systems have low stocking rates per hectare. They can be found worldwide, but form the dominant farming system only in developing countries with relatively low gross national incomes per capita . These systems supply about 9% of the world meat production . In general, grazing systems have lower yields in terms of live weights of animals at slaughter, and milk and egg production , . In contrast to what the term grazing suggests, animals do not only graze. They are also fed, among other things, grains, peas and oil seed cake . Particularly chickens consume large amounts of grains in this so-called grazing system . Traditionally, many of the grazing occurred on marginal lands which are not suitable for producing arable crops for human consumption, but today this is often not the case. Mixed systems combine livestock and crop farming, producing the majority of the animal feed on the farm itself. These systems are very common and found throughout the world. Mixed cattle systems are the dominant systems for example in Brazil, China, Ethiopia, India, New Zealand and the US. Mixed farming systems supply about 54% of the world meat production and 90% of world milk . Industrial systems have high stocking rates per hectare and less than 10% of the animal feed is produced at the farm itself. For cattle, industrial systems are the dominant farming system in for example Japan and western European countries. For pigs and chickens for meat, industrial systems have become the main system for most parts of the world.
Why is the demand for animal products increasing?
In recent decades, demand for animal products, such as meat, milk and eggs, has increased due to changes in food consumption patterns , . In affluent countries, the protein intake is generally larger than required, particularly due to the excessive consumption of animal products.
What is the role of water in agriculture?
Water is a critical input for agricultural production and plays an important role in food security. Irrigated agriculture represents 20 percent of the total cultivated land and contributes 40 percent of the total food produced worldwide. Irrigated agriculture is, on average, at least twice as productive per unit of land as rainfed agriculture, …
What percentage of water is re-allocated to agriculture?
However, future demand on water by all sectors will require as much as 25 to 40% of water to be re-allocated from lower to higher productivity and employment activities, particularly in water stressed regions. In most cases, such reallocation is expected to come from agriculture due to its high share of water use. Currently, agriculture accounts (on average) for 70 percent of all freshwater withdrawals globally (and an even higher share of “consumptive water use” due to the evapotranspiration of crops).
How did the Peru irrigation project affect agriculture?
The Peru Irrigation Subsector Project raised agricultural production and productivity by enhancing the sustainability and efficiency of existing public irrigation systems. As a result of the project, water conveyance efficiency increased by up to 68% in improved irrigation systems, and the program formalized about 190,000 new water rights. The project benefitted 135,000 farm families over a total irrigated area of 435,000 hectares, created 6,400 new jobs, and generally increased agricultural productivity. Yields per hectare were raised by up to 50% in on-farm improvement areas.
How much of the world’s freshwater withdrawals are agriculture?
Currently, agriculture accounts (on average) for 70 percent of all freshwater withdrawals globally (and an even higher share of “consumptive water use” due to the evapotranspiration of crops). The movement of water will need to be both physical and virtual. Physical movement of water can occur through changes in initial allocations …
How does the World Bank support agriculture?
Support for water in agriculture projects accounts for the largest share of the World Bank’s support for agricultural productivity-related activities . Technological innovations combined with changes in the policy environment are playing an increasingly important role in agricultural water management. Advances in the use of remote sensing technologies are now making it possible to cost-effectively estimate crop evapotranspiration (the sum of evaporation and plant transpiration to the atmosphere) from farmers’ fields and to improve water accounting and management at the regional and basin-wide levels. Since 2010, China has adopted this approach in the Xinjiang Turpan Water Conservation Project in the arid northwest region of the country.
How does water move?
Physical movement of water can occur through changes in initial allocations of surface and groundwater resources mainly from the agricultural to urban, environmental, and industrial users. Water can also move virtually as the production of water intensive food, goods, and services is concentrated in water abundant localities …
How much water is needed for future demand?
However, future demand on water by all sectors will require as much as 25 to 40% of water to be re-allocated from lower to higher productivity and employment activities, particularly in water stressed regions. In most cases, such reallocation is expected to come from agriculture due to its high share of water use.
What is water use estimate?
U.S. Geological Survey water use estimates generally refer to withdrawals, or the quantity of water withdrawn from a water source —e.g., a river, lake, or aquifer.
What is the importance of irrigation in agriculture?
Water applied as irrigation allows for crop production in arid regions and supplements soil moisture in humid regions when growing season precipitation is insufficient. Irrigation has enhanced both the productivity and profitability of the agricultural sector. According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, farms with some form of irrigation accounted for more than 54 percent of the total value of U.S. crop sales, while irrigated land accounted for less than 20 percent of harvested cropland. Irrigated crop production helps to support local rural economies in many areas of the U.S., and contributes to the Nation’s livestock, food processing, transportation, and energy sectors.
How does gravity irrigation work?
Gravity irrigation systems use on-field furrows or basins to advance water across the field surface through gravity-means only. Pressurized systems apply water under pressure through pipes or other tubing directly to crops. Pressurized irrigation includes acres irrigated by sprinkler and micro/drip irrigation systems. Under many field conditions, pressurized irrigation systems are generally more water-use efficient than gravity systems as less water is lost to evaporation, deep percolation and field runoff. Over the last 30 years the conversion of gravity to pressurized irrigation systems has increased. In 1984, 37 percent of all irrigated cropland acres in the western U.S. used pressurized irrigation systems, as compared with 72 percent in 2018.
What are the topics examined in the irrigated agriculture?
Topics examined include the following: The value of irrigated agriculture to U.S. agriculture; Where irrigation occurs across the United States; Crops produced with irrigation; Trends in water use and onfarm irrigation efficiency; Private and public investment in irrigation improvements; and. Definitions.
How many acres of land were irrigated in 2012?
Roughly 56 million acres—or 7.6 percent of all U.S. cropland and pastureland—were irrigated in 2012. Nearly three-quarters of irrigated acres are in the 17 western-most contiguous States (referred to as the Western States hereafter).
What percentage of acres were irrigated in 1984?
In 1984, 62 percent of irrigated acres relied on gravity irrigation systems compared with only 34 percent of irrigated acres in 2013. Over the same period, the share of irrigated acres using pressure-sprinkler irrigation systems rose from 37 to 76 percent (note that some acres may be irrigated with both systems).
What is the largest share of the nation’s consumptive water use?
Irrigated agriculture , which accounts for the largest share of the Nation’s consumptive water use ( see definitions ), makes a significant contribution to the value of U.S. agricultural production. In 2012, irrigated farms accounted for roughly half of the total value of crop sales on 28 percent of U.S. harvested cropland.
Freshwater Use — Quantity and Efficiency
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In the US, there are over 9 billion farmedanimals killed per year, and globally, the number is over 55 billion animals who are killed. Manure lagoons never undergo the same treatment as human sewage, and the quantity of animal manure exceeds human manure by 100-fold in the US. According to the US Department of Agriculture,108,000,000 pounds (49 million kilos) is produce…
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