Farming 101GardeningInstructional MaterialvaMudhumeni

WATER MANAGEMENT

By Albert Makendenge

Agriculture is increasingly facing the climate change (global warming and unreliable rainfall patterns). Periodic and prolonged droughts, which have become the order of the day, call for ways to conserve water and make sure every little drop counts.

For those that have the financial resources, drip irrigation is the way to go in as far as water conservation is concerned. This is simply because the system delivers water directly to the plant’s roots thereby reducing evaporation and saving up to 80 percent more water than conventional irrigation.

Rather than let rain water just run off into the rivers and seas, farmers could build structures such as tanks and ponds to capture and store water for use throughout the year. With adequate amounts in reserve, farmers will have nothing to worry even when the seasonal dry spells set in.

Watering haphazardly without a proper timetable can also be another reason for a spike on the water bill. Farmers have got to come up with irrigation schedules that will strictly be followed whilst taking into consideration current conditions such as environmental temperatures and soil moisture.

Another way to use manage water in a more sustainable manner is the growing of crop species that are naturally drought tolerant. Crop species that can do with a little less water throughout their entire growing season. Growing crops that are appropriate to an area’s climate is a way to get more crops per drop.

Conservation Agriculture techniques such as the use of compost/mulch and cover crops also come in handy when farmers are looking to conserve soil moisture. These work very well to improve the structure of the soil and to improve its water holding capacity.

Climate-proofing our agriculture has never been more necessary as one of the most precious elements on earth gets more and more scarce and these are some of the methods that farmers can look to in order to survive through the drier times.

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