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Reducing Water Usage For Your Farm

Give thanks for water this season

Water is unarguably the earths’ most important resource; every living organism depends on it. It travels in numerous cycles, from groundwater to crops, our dog’s bowls and surface water, water molecules are constantly changing structure and filtering through the ground and our diets.

How can AgDynamic help reduce water usage?

AgDynamic products work in a number of ways that help with water conservation. From increasing water uptake in crops to reducing runoff, they have a product for all farms. Contact Full Spectrum to get a sample your soil and pair you with the best products for your farm.

Why is Organic Better for Water?

Organic agriculture holds a lot of respect to water, waterways, and water sources. Along with being more efficient with application of water, organic farming doesn’t add polluting chemicals to potable water.

Without applying the synthetic chemicals found in pesticides and fertilizers, organic farming bypasses the fright of letting these leach into groundwater and runoff.

Organic Farming

  • Uses 30% less energy and water than conventional
  • Lack of groundwater pollution
  • Increased water holding capacity in soils
  • Healthier porosity, increased filtration.

Water Laws

Traveling coast to coast, I’ve learned about the ways surface water is treated. There are two separate laws in the United States governing our ‘right’ to water.

  • The east follows the legal law of the Riparian Doctrine, which allows anyone who lives close to the body of water to have rights to use that water.
  • The west, with a much larger ratio of land to surface water, established the prior appropriation doctrine. This usage gives rights to those who basically found the water first. Luckily, this recognizes Native American tribes as the first!

Fun Fact: New Zealand gave a river the legal rights of a human so it can defend itself in court against pollution, injustices, and more. Let’s start protecting our waters more!

Water Sources

Two of the sources agriculture uses for water are freshwater and reclaimed water.

Fresh Water is potable water extracted from aquifers, ground wells, and surface water. It’s pumped and applied directly to plants through irrigation techniques below.

Reclaimed water is any water that has been recovered from a wastewater treatment plant and has been treated to a standard that is safe for most uses except human consumption.

Ever notice a purple pipe? Purple pipes indicate second hand water. Awesome, right? After water is treated in a wastewater treatment plant through numerous cycles and purifying chemicals (chlorine), water is released back into the environment. Some water is pumped back into aquifers, others lost to the ocean, and some to reclaimed water systems.

Using reclaimed water in agriculture has been a bit of a touchy subject, but if you follow reclaimed water uses, it’s safe.

  • Reduce contact with plants and reclaimed water
  • Apply to soils, non-edible crops, post-harvest operations
  • Note that organic growers are not permitted the same chlorine levels in water as conventional farmers are allowed
  • And don’t forget to have your wells checked!

Irrigation

Irrigation is when water is intentionally supplied to crops and plants with water necessary for their growth. There are many forms of irrigation, but with organic agriculture (as with everything), stay as sustainable as possible!

Types of Irrigation

Drip:

  • Delivers water directly to the roots of crops with low pressure pumps
  • Requires less water and less energy
  • Can supply nutrients within water supply
  • Estimated cost ~ $1,200 and acre
  • My personal favorite!

Surface:

  • Uses gravity to move water
  • Works well with close crops.

Center Pivot

  • Towers with wheels hold sprinklers which rotates around a center pivot
  • Requires a pump
  • Common on large farms, can reach ~ 130 acre areas
  • Giant dinosaurs of a sprinkler system.

Manual:

  • Workers move water manually
  • Small scale farms, takes a bit of time
  • Perfect time to get to see the growth of individual plants and get in a small workout

Water, water, water

Try finishing out 2017 with a better habit with water preservation! Find out all of your options here.

 

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