how to use less water in agriculture



How can we reduce the amount of water used in agriculture?

 · Under regular circumstances, growing 1 kg of tomatoes in the field requires 60 liters of water. However, in a state-of-art greenhouse using hydroponic agriculture, it would take only 4 liters. The amount of water saved would be able to sustain 85,000 people for a year 5. One of the best materials to be used for hydroponic agriculture is stone wool.

What crops require less water to grow?

One of the best materials to be used for hydroponic farming is stone wool. And what’s more, stone wool can be recycled, it absorbs 95% of its own volume in water and minimises the growth of bacteria that may attack the crop. When all is said and done, water scarcity is …

How can we reduce the evaporation of water from the soil?

 · Add in food processing and manufacturing, and about one-third of US water withdrawals of surface water and groundwater in the United States goes to food and agriculture. Water Trends for Food and Farms. A number of large-scale water-use trends were revealed in the study, like the reduction in water withdrawals for meat production.

What is the impact of modern agriculture on water resources?


How to save water in poorer regions?

Drip irrigation systems for poorer regions. In poorer regions, some of the cheaper and more practical solutions to save water are drip irrigation systems, which use frequent irrigation in small, targeted amounts. These systems consist of digging pipes underground and opening tiny holes in the pipes near the roots of the plants, …

What is the best way to reduce water scarcity?

5. Aquaponics: combining agricultural techniques. Aquaponics provides a fascinating solution to water scarcity. This system results from the combination of aquaculture (the practice of fish farming) and hydroponics (the cultivation of plants in water without soil). In some integrated farms, these systems can reduce water consumption by 90% compared …

How much of Israel’s wastewater is recycled?

Today, nearly 90% of wastewater is recycled in Israel, around four times higher than any other country in the world. 10. 4. Recycling wastewater. To better manage wastewater, the Italian Captive Systems remove pollutants from wastewater by using magnetic nanoparticles with a ferromagnetic core and external coating.

How does regenerative agriculture help the environment?

By focussing primarily on soil health rather than the seeds that are sewn , regenerative agriculture promotes a system where the “health of soil, plants, animals, and humans is one and indivisible”. 12 This more circular and holistic view of production is also thought to help crops and fields become more resilient during stressful conditions – particularly during droughts. 13

How can digitalization help farmers?

Some companies are now able to empower farmers to make data-driven decisions and reduce their water consumption by up to 30% thanks to soil-moisture sensors. 6 The Italian company Bluetentacles allows farmers to irrigate fields only when it’s necessary, thanks to climate and soil moisture data. A similar system has also been developed by the Spanish startup BioAgro, which has created a smart irrigation platform using low-cost technology based on information obtained by sensors. The sensors calibrate soil moisture and allow automatic irrigation and application of fertilisers only when the crops need it. These platforms could also provide farmers with forecasting and alerts about conditions that may threaten crops, so they can take appropriate action in a convenient and timely way.

Why is it important to store water in a smart way?

In Colombia, the CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) focuses on climate-smart agriculture (CSA) to help small-scale farmers adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change . This is achieved by catching rainwater when it’s available and helping farmers to efficiently channel rainwater to reservoirs or storage tanks to be used when the weather is drier. 9

What is water scarcity?

Water scarcity is defined as the reduced availability of water due to physical shortage (for example, a drought), a lack of adequate infrastructure (such as channels and wells), or the failure of institutions to ensure a regular water supply. In other words, water scarcity occurs where there are insufficient water resources to satisfy …

Why is it important to use less to gain more?

The idea of using less to gain more is seen as an important innovation for adapting farming to climate change and a way to increase yields at a time when human populations are growing fast but traditional plant breeding and genetically modified techniques have failed to increase yields more than a few percentage points, says Uphoff.

How much does rice intensification increase yield?

Miguel is not alone. Reports from China, India, Southeast Asia and Africa suggest that average yield increases of 20 to 50 percent are regularly being achieved by farmers adopting the “system of rice intensification” (SRI), which aims to stimulate the root system of plants rather than trying to increase yields in the conventional way by using improved seeds and synthetic fertilizers.

Why do Indian farmers use SRI?

Many Indian farmers are adopting SRI to increase the productivity of rice by changing the management of plants, soil, water and nutrients. Advertisement.

What is SRI in agriculture?

SRI, in contrast, involves the careful spacing of fewer but younger plants, keeping the topsoil around the plants well-aerated by weeding, using manure and avoiding flooding. An Indian farmer drags a wooden plank to level soil as he works in a paddy field in Agartala, India.

What do Kashmiri farmers tie to make hay?

Kashmiri farmers tie lumps of grass to make hay bales in a paddy field during harvesting season.

What crops require less water?

For example, grapes and olives are crops that require less water for production than tomatoes. It is also important to grow crops that are well-suited to local climate conditions. In any case, farmers should consider growing crops that are the most appropriate for the local climate. This means not growing thirsty crops in a very arid region, …

Why is it important to conserve water in agriculture?

Since agriculture is one of the largest users of freshwater on our planet, it is important to change farming practices to conserve water instead of wasting it. Many farmers are already implementing wise water management in their farming operations and are employing many of the following practices.

Why is healthy soil important?

Healthy soil has a structure to it that soaks up water and retains it much more effectively than degraded soil does. Critical to maintaining a healthy soil ecology is supplying the soil with plenty of organic matter that nourishes the soil and soil organisms.

How to maintain healthy soil?

Methods that can help to maintain healthy soil include adding compost, residue management, conservation tillage, and no tilling farming techniques. The use of contours and swales on the farming landscape also help to hold water high on the landscape and to prevent erosion. By only allowing partial tillage and by retaining some crop residue on …

Why use drip irrigation lines?

Drip irrigation lines can be used that only water a plant’s roots instead of the surrounding soil as well. This helps to avoid unnecessary water evaporation from the soil. Ground cover fabrics can help to reduce evapotranspiration as well as to block weeds from growing between crop plants.

How does partial tillage help farmers?

By only allowing partial tillage and by retaining some crop residue on the soil surface, farmers help to increase the water absorption of the soil and reduce problems of evaporation, erosion, and compaction.

Why are swales important in wetlands?

Building swales on contour offers an opportunity to capture and hold water high on the landscape and to recharge groundwater supplies.

What percentage of freshwater is used in agriculture?

Agriculture accounts for 69 percent of global freshwater withdrawals, according to estimates by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The number is generally higher in developing countries and lower in industrialized nations, where a greater share goes to manufacturing. In the United States, agriculture uses close to 40 percent of freshwater withdrawals.

How does irrigation efficiency help the environment?

Improved irrigation efficiency can also reduce diversions from creeks and rivers, leaving more water for aquatic habitat and other human uses. And it may prevent herbicides and fertilizers from being carried back into those rivers when water runs off farm fields.

What do scientists look for in drought?

As drought rages on in the West, scientists search for improvements to wasteful irrigation technologies.

What percentage of the world’s land is irrigated?

Only about 20 percent of global farmland is irrigated, but it accounts for 40 percent of food production. Flood irrigation is the most commonly used method, even though crops use only about half of the water applied by this method.

What is helping inform the farmer’s touch?

Now something else is helping inform the farmer’s touch: Data. Sensors, satellites, and software are adding piles of new data to help manage water on the farm. From soil moisture to leaf transpiration, pump speed to valve status, today’s farm fields can seem as wired as airports.

Can you irrigate crops in Texas?

In the Texas panhandle, the recent prolonged drought forced many farmers to realize they can no longer depend on rain alone to irrigate crops. Many are drilling deep wells to tap into the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest in North America, for supplementary irrigation water.

Is time important in irrigation?

Time is an important factor in any new irrigation technology, and one that’s not often taken into consideration, says Daniel Howes, a professor of engineering and irrigation technology at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.

Decline in Agricultural Water Withdrawals

Will there be enough water to produce food for burgeoning populations as climate change disruptions amplify water stress? This question looms large for agriculture.

Water Trends for Food and Farms

A number of large-scale water-use trends were revealed in the study, like the reduction in water withdrawals for meat production. Drivers included lower incomes that coincided with the Great Recession and led people to eat less meat and choose less expensive cuts of meat.

Water Use Data Matters

An interesting methodological note is the study’s use of USGS data on irrigation water instead of blue water footprint data from Mekonnen and Hoekstra, whose research is affiliated with the Water Footprint Network (WFN).

Why is dry farming important?

But while water conservation and intensely flavorful crops are the clear benefits of dry farming, the major tradeoff is yield.

How many counties are affected by drought?

This week, as the nation grapples with the worst drought in decades, the USDA added more than 218 counties to its list of natural disaster areas, bringing the total to 1,584—more than half of all US counties. Farmers in the Midwest and Great Plains have been the hardest hit, but the drought is a growing reality for farmers across the country, including California. While the Secretary of Agriculture won’t comment on the drought’s link to climate change, it’s at the forefront of everyone’s mind, and as global warming unfolds, knowledge of dryland agriculture will become increasingly valuable.

Why do you need to have wide orchard rows for apples?

Having wide orchard rows, which allow tree roots to spread out , is essential for dry-farming apples, as is thinning (removing much of the fruit early in its development) to ensure that each apple gets as much water as possible. In dryer years (like this one), Devoto must work extra hard to control weeds, which drink water needed by thirsty trees. As the summer progresses, the ground slowly dries out, stressing out the fruits as they ripen, which helps the sugars become more concentrated.

What is the layer of soil that seals water?

This three- to four-inch layer, sometimes referred to as a dust mulch, seals in water and prevents evaporation.

What are some good crops to grow on the coast?

Today, it is experiencing a modest resurgence along the coast, where temperate, foggy summers offer ideal conditions for dry farming grapes, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, melons, grains, and some tree fruit. “In the beginning, I searched out people who were known dry-farmers,” says Little, who started in farming in 1995.

Do little potatoes get irrigation?

Through a technique known as dry farming, Little’s potatoes and squash receive no irrigation, getting all of their water from the soil. Mediterranean grape and olive growers have dry-farmed for thousands of years.

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