Water issues in agriculture

Advanced Search Abstract The increasing demands placed on the global water supply threaten biodiversity and the supply of water for food production and other vital human needs. Water shortages already exist in many regions, with more than one billion people without adequate drinking water. New water supplies are likely to result from conservation, recycling, and improved water-use efficiency rather than from large development projects. Water is essential for maintaining an adequate food supply and a productive environment for the human population and for other animals, plants, and microbes worldwide.

Water issues in agriculture

Where does agricultural water come from? What is agricultural water?

Water issues in agriculture

Agricultural water is water that is used to grow fresh produce and sustain livestock. 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 applicationscrop cooling for example, light irrigationand frost control. There are million acres of land used for agricultural purposes in the United States that produce an abundance of food and other products 2.

Water issues in agriculture

Figure courtesy of USGS When agricultural water is used effectively and safely, production and crop yield are positively affected. A decrease in applied water can cause production and yield to decrease.

Management strategies are the most important way to improve agricultural water use and maintain optimal production and yield. The key is to implement management strategies that improve water use efficiency without decreasing yield.

Some examples include improved irrigation scheduling and crop specific irrigation management. Top of Page Why should I be concerned about the agricultural water quality in my area? Water quality can be affected by poor planning of industrial sites, animal farms, and barnyards and feedlots.

Until recently, the type of water source has been indicative of the potential risks of contamination. Poor water quality can affect the quality of food crops and lead to illness in those who consume them.

For example, the water may contain germs that cause human disease. Irrigating crops with contaminated water can then lead to contaminated food products which lead to illness when eaten. Groundwater, for example, has been considered one of the safest sources of water. However, depending on field location and field size, it may not be possible to use water from these sources for irrigation.

Typical sources of agricultural water include: Surface water Rivers, streams, and irrigation ditches Open canals Impounded water such as ponds, reservoirs, and lakes Groundwater from wells Rainwater Locally collected water such as cisterns and rain barrels Municipal water systems such as city and rural water can also be used for agricultural purposes.Today, our society is facing a huge agricultural water problem.

Water quality is rapidly decreasing as a result of human activities such as deforestation, mining and dumping of chemicals waste generated by factories into water sources such as oceans, rivers and lakes.

Agricultural water use is under growing pressure as demands for water increase; competition among cities, farmers, and the environment grows; and as concerns grow over large-scale overdraft of groundwater and water contamination from agricultural runoff.

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. The Sources and Solutions: Agriculture.

Applying fertilizers in the proper amount, at the right time of year and with the right method can significantly reduce how much fertilizer reaches water bodies.

Keeping animals and their waste out of streams keeps nitrogen and phosphorus out of the water and protects stream banks. Aug 06,  · The effectiveness of agricultural conservation programs in supporting water conservation and environmental policy goals may vary with local hydrologic conditions; the type, size, and location of irrigated farms; and the legal and institutional measures governing water use.

Dillard, who specializes in agricultural issues, including water quality, points to recent efforts in Maryland to regulate fertilizer use due to concerns about the Chesapeake Bay.

In Ohio.

Agricultural Water| Other Uses of Water | Healthy Water | CDC