Water Waste in Agriculture Global statistics show that 70% of annual water consumed goes to farming. Of the 70% consumed in agricultural activities, 40% goes to waste via evaporation and poor irrigation practices and channels. As the human population continues to increase, the demand for agricultural farm produce is also increasing.
It is estimated that about 40% of the water used every year is underutilized and goes to waste due to outdated irrigation practices. Some systems, such as overhead sprinklers, shower large field crops, and about half of the water used is continuously evaporated, lost in transit, or end up as runoff.
Water that would be used for other purposes is channeled back to the ecosystem, where it has to be reacquired and distributed again, leading to a waste of money, time, and energy.
In the US, for instance, agriculture production accounts for about 80 percent of the consumptive water use in the country. Consumptive water use refers to the water used but is not returned to its original source. On the other hand, water used in our homes or an industry like agriculture, approximately 90 percent is finally returned to the ecosystem where it replenishes water sources and could be used to serve other purposes.
Most countries that practice irrigation agriculture do not consider the amount and cost of the water they spend annually. Intensive underground water pumping is the leading cause of aquifer depletion. The governing authorities need to instill measures that improve the efficiency of water use in agricultural practices.
As the desert encroachment continues to pose a risk in most of California, farmers heavily rely on underground water to run their farming activities. So the question on the table is, "what sustainable irrigation methods can farmers embrace and step down irrigation water waste?