How to save water in agriculture

How to save water in agriculture

Water, the most important ally for human beings. Water is life and it is a resource that day by day is unfortunately becoming more limited. Water is essential for any type of agricultural process, so its use must be exact and we must control, reduce and preserve this valuable asset.

One of the main causes of the lack of water on the planet is climate change. In many parts of the world, drought is a reality in which evapotranspiration is much more intense than the water resources of the lands. Summers are getting longer and rainy seasons are getting shorter.

Many crops are going out of production due to droughts. These crops, not finding water on the surface, stop developing and end up drying. Many farmers are choosing to produce other types of crops, more resistant to droughts, high temperatures and, above all, that are capable of developing in poor water environments and surviving for long periods. An example is the olive tree. It is characterized by having a large number of roots in which they can dig large surfaces of soil to find water.

Depending on the type of soil in which it is being cultivated, the amount of water can contain depends directly on its composition. For example, clay and porous soils can hold much more water than sandy soils.

Global warming favors potential evapotranspiration and changes in the behavior of rainfall in terms of frequency and intensity of rainfall. In general, this phenomenon creates large extensions of arid and semi-arid areas. Farmers who directly face the change of state of their lands must implement “sustainable agriculture”: water saving strategies, adopt new, more adequate and efficient irrigation systems.

How to save water?

One of the most common ways to save water is the collection of water from the ground. Favoring the infiltration of water so as not to allow it to escape through the drainage networks and thus improve the capacity of the fields.

Another way is the insertion of cover crops. In this way, the soil is not exposed between cultivation periods.

Keep water in the soil:

When water seeps into the ground, it must be protected to prevent evapotranspiration and eventual loss.

One way to protect and keep this water in the soil is surface tillage in the summer months. In this way, the rise of the water is interrupted, favoring the creation of a superficial layer that protects the lower ones, which are still very wet.

Choosing the best irrigation system:

Irrigation is useful during the development and production phases of the crop, that is, when there is a shortage of water.

As we have mentioned, the years or periods of drought are becoming longer and those water resources that are declining are increasingly necessary.

The most inefficient systems are those that work by flooding (25%) and furrows (30-40%; if they are carried out through slots they can reach 50% efficiency) causing an enormous leaching of nutrients from the soil.

“The most efficient irrigation systems are those that can distribute water at very precise points (85-90%), that is, near the plant, near the ground or directly on it. This saves time in terms of exposing the water to the air and water flowing from the pipe to the roots.”

Consequently, we must all work to achieve responsible use, trying to limit its waste.

Everyone involved in agriculture, sooner or later, must achieve the goal of being an efficient water saving system for their crops. There are technological solutions and tillage techniques that can also help achieve that goal; In this way, you will not only have a positive impact on the environment, but will also increase the productivity of the farm. A well-hydrated soil will be an optimal starting point to increase production.