One does not need to talk a lot to convince farmers of the importance of water, because in general agriculture is among most sensitive if not the most sensitive to any changes in water supply. Lack of water, droughts or floods on the other hand, are slowly becoming reality to farmers around the world. This has led to more careful thinking how farmers should save water in order to remove water related uncertainties.
Creating water ponds on farms has proven to be successful method of transferring water from periods of time when there is plenty of it to those when water supply is an issue, and it has been in usage for a long period of time. Well-developed water pods can not only save water but also help you support local wild life.
Soil management is one of the key factors in saving water on your farm. Ability of soil to consume and retain water is just as important as the amount of water available for irrigation which is why effort needs to be invested into making soil water efficient as well. Compost and cover crops can help immensely in that mission.
Compost is a magic maker when it comes to agriculture. It can help you not only to make your soil richer in important minerals and components, but it can also help you make your soil more water efficient. Compost saves water by making soil able to hold water for longer period of time.
Cover crops also make soil more water efficient by preventing erosion and making soil richer with organic matter. At the same time, you are keeping your soil prepared for later tilling and improving soil capacity to absorb water.
Drip irrigation is one of the most efficient irrigation methods there is. It helps directing water straight to the roots of the plant and avoids unnecessary spills. Water drips slowly and the amount of water used per hour is between 2 and 20 liters. It is considered that drip irrigation is as much as 80% more efficient than conventional irrigation.
On the other hand, micro irrigation has been a technique practiced for hundreds of years. It is known that in the past farmers had been using clay pots they would fill with water and bury them in the ground close to the root of the plant. Clay would pass small amounts of water as time goes by and keep the root refreshed. If this is too complicated, you might try simple bottles. Fill them up with water turn them upside down and stick the top to the ground. This will help releasing water slowly and avoiding over watering.
PLANTING DROUGHT TOLERANT PLANTS
If the region where your farm is at, has issues with water supply, make sure you are planting right plants. In dry regions, there are many drought tolerant plants that can grow successfully without significant quantities of water (for example olives, cassava, finger millet, pearl millet, cowpea, teff, amaranth, different sorts of grass, cotton, corn and rice etc.).
Recycling water on the farm means taking out harmful substances from waste water and returning it into the irrigation system. Waste water is one of the unused resources that often contains substance our plants would gladly use. There is currently increased interest in managing water recycling processes that can wonderfully match practices undertaken especially on farms devoted to permaculture and organic production.
One of the inspiring stories when it comes to recycling water is the story of a goat farm in Pescadero, California. Before taking a look at the video, have in mind that precisely California is one of the regions constantly facing serious droughts which has led them to increasing efforts in finding ways to use available water resources as efficiently as possible.