Lectura

5 ways to save water in agriculture

Agriculture is the sector that consumes the most water in our country, accounting for around 84% of total water consumption. Therefore, we must look for efficient ways to make use of it. Here are 5 ways to save water in agriculture:

1. Introduce high technology in irrigation systems.

It is well known that technology is the great driver of the world and that, thanks to it, we are also able to save many productive resources.

In agriculture, the use of more modernised systems such as soil moisture sensors can help the farmer to know how much water the crops already have and thus save a good percentage of water. Other current examples are artificial intelligence, with algorithms that allow us to know the needs of plantations, or crop simulation models and meteorological tools that allow us to predict droughts.

2. Use adequate irrigation systems

Drip irrigation is the most water-saving, practical and economical system. Such irrigation systems consist of first digging multiple pipes underground and then opening tiny holes in them close to the roots of the plant (so that the minimum amount of water is lost due to evaporation).

Due to its characteristics, this system is suitable for the most water-poor regions. Moreover, according to studies, it is the most successful in arid or semi-arid areas for crop production and tree maintenance.

3. Stores water especially in drier regions.

We were talking about how drip irrigation is the best system in dry or low water regions. A crucial action for water use is the intelligent storage of water.

Water saving and climate change mitigation programmes are in place in some countries. In Colombia, for example, there is the CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) Research Programme, which focuses on climate-smart agriculture. This is achieved by collecting rainwater and channelling it to storage tanks or reservoirs.

4. Reuse wastewater

This point is very important because, if the pollutants (such as hydrocarbons and some organic compounds) are removed from such water, it could be used and reused for irrigation.

The most efficient treatment is total oxidation, which works by prolonged aeration of the water. Normally, wastewater treatment plants are composed of two compartments: the first is a reactor in which the biological decomposition of the organic matter takes place, and the second is a settling tank, where the sludge sedimentation takes place.

5. Avoid food waste

Approximately one third of production is discarded before consumption. According to the World Resources Institute, this amounts to 1.3 trillion tonnes, or 166 trillion litres of water, which translates into almost 24% of the water used for agricultural purposes.

In this case the actions to be taken are not directly related to water but are more indirect, such as having better control of the supply chain, implementing the necessary technology for improved logistics tracking and communications.

Sistema de riego por goteo en un cultivo para tener un uso eficiente del riego y ahorrar agua

Conclusions

Saving water in agriculture is essential as today we use more than what the land can provide. In our International Master in Agribusiness Management you will learn, among other things, the most widely used technologies in the agribusiness world. These include those used for water saving.

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