World Water Day

Today is World Water Day

WWday 2013

Obviously you are interested in water and Rivers, or you would not be following this post.  Enjoy a few different perspectives on water issues by reading the following articles:

Alita van der Walt – editor of Farmer’s Weekly http://www.farmersweekly.co.za/content.aspx?id=10136&h=editors-letter

Morne du Plessis – WWF on the MCF blog http://midlandsconservanciesforum.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/save-our-grasslands-save-our-water-sources/

As KZN is an important agricultural area and water imperative for food production, you might be interested  in what Danielle Nierenberg of Food Tank – The Food think Tank has to say:

Although the earth has 1.4 billion cubic kilometers of water, only 0.001 percent of that is accessible for human consumption and use. And 70 percent of water is used for agricultural purposes. As water supplies face mounting pressures from growing populations, climate change, and an already troubled food system, analyses of “water wealth” and “water security” are laying the groundwork for future cooperation and stability. In order to meet all municipal, agricultural, and ecological needs for water, it is crucial to develop innovative water saving systems for the future of food production.

Here are seven
strategies for reducing water waste in the food system:

1. Eating Less Meat
According to Sandra Postel of the Global Water Policy Project, it takes roughly
3,000 liters of water to meet one person’s daily dietary needs, or
approximately 1 liter per calorie. The amount of water needed to produce one
kilogram of red meat can range from 13,000 to 43,000 liters of water; poultry
requires about 3,500 liters of water; and pork needs about 6,000 liters. Eating
more meatless meals, even one or two days a week, can help conserve water
resources.

2. Using intercropping, agroforestry, and cover crops
Soil health is critical to water conservation. Diversifying farms by including
cover crops, planting trees on farms, and intercropping can help keep nutrients
and water in the soil, protecting plants from drought and making sure that
every drop of water delivered by rainfall or irrigation can be utilized.

3. Implementing micro-irrigationApproximately 60 percent of water used for irrigation is wasted. Drip irrigation methods can be more expensive to install, but can also be 33 percent to 40 percent more efficient, carrying water or fertilizers directly to plants’ roots.

4. Improving Rainwater Harvesting
Since the 1980s, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute,
farmers in Burkina Faso have been modifying traditional planting pits known as
zai, making them deeper and wider and adding organic materials. As a result,
the pits retain rainwater longer, helping farmers to increase yields even in
years of low rainfall.

5. Using mobile technology to save water
Santosh Ostwal is an innovator and entrepreneur in India who has developed a
system that allows farmers to use mobile phones to turn their irrigation
systems on and off remotely. This helps reduce the amount of water and
electricity wasted on watering fields that are already saturated.

6. Planting perennial crops
Perennial crops protect the soil for a greater length of time than annual
crops, which reduces water loss from runoff. According to a report from the
Land Institute, “annual grain crops can lose five times as much water and
35 times as much nitrate as perennial crops.”

7. Practicing Soil Conservation
Soil conservation techniques, including no-till farming, can help farmers to
better utilize the water they have available. According to the U.N. Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO), studies have shown that no-till techniques
improve water-retention capacity and improve water use efficiency in crops.

Be sure to visit the official World Water Day website for more details about the day’s events, including tips for reducing your water footprint.

What ideas do you have for sensible water consumption and conservation?  Do post a comment letting us all know.

Bushman's river at Dunsink

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About Nikki Brighton

I live in Howick, between the river and the hills. I enjoy pre-dawn walks in the streets with my dog, sitting on the veranda with crochet and tea, and harvesting vegetables outside the kitchen door.
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