Improve Water Management in Agriculture

As the climate warms, water is becoming a less reliable resource in the already unpredictable business of farming. To survive more frequent droughts and weather extremes, farms need strategies that can help reduce water use while maintaining income and food production.

Soaker hose irrigation Zmaj88/iStock

NRDC supports and promotes the work of farmers who reduce their water consumption through efficiency. For example, by shifting from flood irrigation to drip irrigation, they can reduce water use by about 20 percent. Other changes in water-management practices, such as improved irrigation scheduling, can also deliver significant reductions in water use. Farmers who build good soil health—by planting cover crops, for example—can improve their water efficiency as well; even small increases in organic matter can help the soil hold more water.

In California, we helped get water-conservation laws for agricultural water suppliers on the books. Now our experts are making sure these laws are being implemented effectively. We highlight best practices in water management for these suppliers, providing the information and guidance water managers need to comply with the law and effectively reduce water use.

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