Water Supply Sustainable Farming Practices

The population explosion of the 20th century has dramatically increased the need for both food and water. The farming practices which were in large part responsible for this growth have supplied sufficient food so far but they are nearing their limit. There is considerable evidence that our current method of growing crops in unsustainable and one of the keys to creating a more sustainable agricultural state is water conservation in the growing of crops.

There are a number of ways to reduce the usage of water. One of the most useful is drip irrigation. A well designed drip irrigation system loses almost not water to run off, evaporation or deep percolation. In addition drip irrigation helps to keep liquid off of the leaves, stems and fruit reducing the likelihood of diseases. Not only this but the ability to precisely control crop demands allows for an increase in crop quality and yield.

Other advantages to drip irrigation include the ability to easily water oddly shaped fields, areas with very low water yield, ability to supply nutrients and fertilizer, but all of this does come at a cost. The average increase in cost is approximately 500 to 1200 dollars per acre, part of this cost in the original implication and some in year operation costs, as well as the need to upkeep the lines which can add considerable time.

Another method which has considerable hope to decrease the usage of agricultural water use in Chinese farming is that of alternately wetting and then drying rice fields rather than continuingly flooding them. This not only allows for the growth of more plans with the same amount of water but makes the harvesting of the rice easier.

The final and likely most important way to reduce the water cost of farming is simply choosing the correct crop for the correct area. With the growth of factory farming it has become profitable for major factory farms to grow crops in areas that are climatically incorrect for the produce. A farm in this situation will use far more water than a less profitable but more climatically correct crop.

All of this may seem simply academic to many as it is easy to assume that these changes must be done in drier parts of the world. The truth is that farmers in the united states have already began to adjust their water usage because of the understanding that the use of fossil water currently supplying much of the water for irrigation is diminishing and at our current water usage of this nonrenewable source could be deplete it in as little as 25 years. This would leave many farmers without any water to irrigate.