Posted by: rainworks | September 4, 2009

Rainwater Harvesting as an Agricultural Resource!

Rainwater harvesting and even greywater collection could be very beneficial when used for irrigation for our crop lands.

Some farms as well as farming communities could capture Rainwater from livestock barns, corral sheds, tractor and equipment barns, etc; Red barn

 this water could then be piped to a holding pond, above ground or underground water storage tanks for irrigation uses.Crop Sprinkling

Out on the range, Rainwater could be harvested on roofs of livestock shelters, to supplement wind powered water wells.  Cattle n Wind mill

These resources could supply livestock with another water source during droughts, and even with the use of water tankers on pickup trucks.

This is a win-win situation; because it’s a local resource, and yet much of the irrigation will still end up regenerating the water table with the origional free, and clean rainwater.

There are three basic ways to irrigate. You can do it the old-fashioned flood plain way, which is the most inefficient. In your mind’s eye, imagine the rows of the crops with little canals of water between them. The second way is by drip irrigation. This is the most expensive per acre. It is much more water efficient though, with 90%-95% of the water hitting the crops and little runoff. You may have seen this system in vineyards or orchards, with the little drippers coming on now and then like in a grocery store produce section. This is the most sustainable method.

The third way is the preferred choice for large fields of 80 acres or more. Mechanized irrigation, as the name implies, is when you have machines roll through and efficiently water crops as they pass. There are center pivot machines, lateral move machines, corner machines, etc. All of them are highly efficient and allow for little or no runoff of water. It’s the second and third third way that can provide us with a solution; by incorporating Rainwater Harvesting as our agricultural water resource. 

Irrigated land is far more productive than non-irrigated land. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the U.N., irrigation boosts yields 100%-400% for most crops. Developing countries irrigate only 20% of their arable land. Yet those lands produce around 40% of all crops and close to 60% of cereal production.

There are three basic ways to irrigate. You can do it the old-fashioned flood plain way, which is the most inefficient. In your mind’s eye, imagine the rows of the crops with little canals of water between them. The second way is by drip irrigation. This is the most expensive per acre. It is much more water efficient, though, with 90%-95% of the water hitting the crops and little runoff. You may have seen this system in vineyards or orchards, with the little drippers coming on now and then like in a grocery store produce section.

The third way is the preferred choice for large fields of 80 acres or more. Mechanized irrigation, as the name implies, is when you have machines roll through and efficiently water crops as they pass. There are center pivot machines, lateral move machines, corner machines, etc. All of them are highly efficient and allow for little or no runoff of water.

Agriculturally food stocks are dwindling at a rapid rate, crops wither and die never getting to market, those that do increase the costs in our shopping cart. Farmers to survive, must increase their cost of operations by building a huge infrastructure for irrigation, many of these costs are passed onto the tax payer through government subsidies, and increased costs of food supplies. That huge infrastructure I mentioned is responsible for an insurmountable amount of ecological damage to the planet. More streams and then rivers dry up as the water table is sucked dry, some of these rivers never reach the lakes or oceans as they used to. And those waters that do reach their deltas are so low and concentrated with pollutants that the water that does arrive is poisonous to the marine life. Whole highways and even homes are swallowed up because cavernous aquifers once filled with water which actually supported the earth above them, were pumped dry and became fragile enough to collapse creating a sinkhole. Agricultural losses are supplemented by natural disasters such as droughts. We cannot control droughts as readily as we can control our water usage and its cleanliness.

Associated Links:

 

Advertisements

Responses

  1. There’s good info here. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog. Keep up the good work mate!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: