Conserve Water in Agriculture and Help in Environmental Conservation
“Water is life’s matter and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water.”
– Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, M.D. Discoverer of Vitamin C
Why is conserving water in agriculture critical for environmental conservation?
Water is one of the essential natural resources on Earth. All life form, be it human, animal, plant or aquatic, needs water to survive. If there were no water, there would be no life on the planet.
Even though around 71% of Earth’s surface is covered with water, only over 2.5% is fresh water, the rest being saline.
The bulk of earth’s freshwater is used in drinking and household needs; industry & commerce and agriculture. Right from drinking, bathing, and cleaning etc. to use in industrial and agricultural activities, water is critical in every aspect of our lives.
Being as important as it is, yet we have not used it with care. The rampant and careless use of the precious resource in the last few decades is resulting in its fast depletion from our planet.
Rapid urbanisation, rising population and a drastic change in lifestyles has led to a considerable increase in water consumption over the past few decades. As a result, we are losing freshwater at a faster rate than it can be replenished.
|The agriculture sector is the prime consumer of water, consuming nearly 70% of the total freshwater reserves. It is followed by industrial consumption at 20% and domestic at 10%.|
Trends show that by 2050, feeding a planet of 9 billion people will require an estimated 50 per cent increase in agricultural production and a 15 per cent increase in water usage
While many farmers across the globe rely on groundwater and other pumped resources to water their crops, the environmental effects of water wastage are big areas of concern in agriculture.
|Studies show that around 40% of the freshwater used for agriculture is lost either by evaporation, spills (overwatering), or deep infiltration.|
The need of the hour is to understand that optimal use of water by farmers will help in conserving one of nature’s most treasured resources. Additionally, it will also help in growing healthier crops, all with less water – ‘More Crop Per Drop’. Efficient water management and utilisation are critical for sustainable growth.
The farming sector depends majorly on the environment, and we depend on agriculture. It is especially true for an agrarian economy like India’s where more than half the population is dependent on agriculture.
Therefore, environmental conservation is most critical.
Here are ways water conservation in agriculture can help in environmental conservation
Use Efficient Irrigation Systems
Optimal use of natural resources by moving towards modern and efficient irrigation methods like ‘Drip and Sprinkle irrigation’ will help in conserving water significantly.
Through the drip method of irrigation, the plant gets the water directly at its roots, unlike the traditional overhead spray method.
|Reducing the percentage of evaporation, Drip Irrigation saves up to 80% more water than the conventional method. It also improves the yield by around 20%.|
Schedule the Irrigation
Efficient water management is vital for ensuring sustainable growth and sustenance of the natural resources.
Watering the plants at the right time, right place, with the right amount, and in the proper manner is critical to optimal use of the natural resource.
It increases productivity and conserves water along with reducing the energy cost on irrigation.
Timers, set to schedule the watering for cooler parts of the day, can reduce the water loss even further
By using technology like IoT (Internet of Things), the farmers automate the irrigation schedule. Keeping in mind the weather, moisture levels of plant and soil, humidity, temperature, etc.
During the periods of rain, farmers can build rain barrels to store the water. They can then recycle it for irrigating the crops when the water reserves go low.
Creating special reservoirs or ponds to store the water will also help in creating a natural habitat for the wildlife.
This practice can save millions of gallons of water. This will ease off the load on the natural resource and help in environmental conservation.
Follow Best Agricultural Practices
Sustainability-led farmers understand the far-reaching benefits of following good agricultural practices.
These include using good quality planting material and optimal use of resources. It means focussing on improving the quality of the soil so that it can hold moisture and oxygen, and the plants can thrive.
Additionally, adopting good agricultural practices also signifies the responsible use of pesticides and fertilisers. It ensures too many chemicals do not seep into the soil, affecting the environment adversely.
Continued and sustained efforts by more and more farmers in this direction will help in reducing the negative impact on the ecosystem. It will help in conserving the natural resources for future generations.
Each one of us has a deep impact on the future of the planet. How we lead our daily lives, how mindful we are in using natural resources, every action of ours impacts the future of the Earth.
Nature, when allowed to be in its glory, does a great job of keeping our planet healthy. However, when interfered with too callously, can turn around and become the biggest taskmaster.
So, let us all contribute to make our planet a thriving place again. Let us all commit to rebuilding a green world – both for ourselves and for our future generations.