Water conservation in agriculture: strategies for efficient irrigation

10 January 2024

Need for innovation in agricultural irrigation

Water conservation in agriculture is an increasingly important issue as water resources become scarcer and more polluted. Agriculture accounts for 72 percent of global freshwater use. In addition, this sector is particularly vulnerable to damage caused by ecological degradation, climate change and increasing competition for water, making wiser and more sustainable management of water resources essential. There is a need to explore alternative water resources, including through sustainable water desalination or wastewater reuse. Optimizing water use in agriculture requires advanced technologies and collective efforts involving policy makers and stakeholders from all sectors.


Problems related to inefficient irrigation

Inefficient irrigation has both direct and indirect environmental and economic impacts. Directly, it affects groundwater levels in irrigated areas, reducing the flow of water downstream to rivers and lakes and increasing evaporation. This can lead to local climate changes, such as changes in weather patterns, including the frequency and intensity of rainfall. Indirectly, it causes problems such as soil oxygen depletion (waterlogging), soil salinization and ecological damage such as reduced river flows with negative impacts on wetland and floodplain forest ecosystems.


Efficient irrigation strategies

To maximize agricultural savings and improve water efficiency in agriculture, it is critical to implement advanced strategies. These may include the use of precision technologies to monitor crop water requirements and the use of drip or micro-irrigation systemsScheduling irrigation according to crop needs is also essential.  The goal is to optimize the use of available water, reduce waste and promote sustainable water management.

In addition, water reclamation and reuse play a key role in water conservation and irrigation efficiency. Incorporating water recycling into irrigation design not only maximizes the use of available water resources, but also reduces dependence on external sources, contributing significantly to the overall sustainability and efficiency of the system.


Sustainable water management in agriculture

Only through sustainable water management can we ensure the availability of water for future generations. This approach requires a careful balance between social and economic needs and environmental protection, aiming to preserve the integrity of water ecosystems without compromising viability.

Some practices that can contribute to sustainable water management in agriculture include:

  • Rainwater harvesting and use: rainwater harvesting can be a valuable source of water for irrigation. This practice can be implemented through the construction of reservoirs or rainwater harvesting and purification systems.
  • Recycling wastewater for irrigation: treating wastewater from agricultural or industrial processes allows the fluids to be reused for irrigation. This also reduces reliance on surface or groundwater resources.
  • Promotion of agricultural practices that reduce the need for irrigation: adopting sustainable agricultural practices, such as growing drought-resistant plants or using cultivation techniques that improve water retention in the soil, can reduce the need for irrigation.

The FAO and the United Nations emphasize the critical importance of more sustainable and efficient agricultural practices to meet growing demand and environmental and socio-economic challenges. In response, Idro Group is committed to providing solutions that comply with environmental and regulatory requirements, taking the lead in protecting water resources.

For a more sustainable future, join Idro Group in our mission. Find out how we can transform water management. Contact us today!

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