Thursday, August 14, 2008

Improving Irrigation

Farmers mend their watering ways
By Larry Copeland, USA TODAY

CAMILLA, Ga. — Water conservation hasn't always been a top priority for farmers in this southwest corner of the state. That's because water has been plentiful in the Flint River Basin.

But the Southeast has endured several droughts in recent years, and this year, 87% of Georgia is in some stage of drought. The state also is locked in a 2-decade-old water war with Alabama and Florida over two major river basins.

So many farmers were willing to listen when the Nature Conservancy, the Department of Agriculture and the Flint River Soil and Water Conservation District, offered to help them conserve water.

They improved the efficiency of irrigation systems by adding low-pressure nozzles that reduce evaporation loss, and they started using soil moisture monitors that eliminate guesswork about when to water. Read More

Irrigation has been used for centuries in order to take some of the risk out of producing an ample food supply. And along the way farmers have looked for more efficient ways to put water onto their crops. The technology available today has allowed farmers to water only portions of their fields that need it the most. While some people will still look at this as a waste of water, growing the food for your next meal is hardly a waste. Farmers and ranchers have always been aware of the importance of conserving the natural resources they depend on for their livelihood and will continue to do so.

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