Fresh water is so abundant in the United States that people may sometimes take its availability for granted. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is building awareness about the fragility of this essential resource. In the face of a rapidly rising population and agriculture’s high demand, the nation is working to ensure future supplies of water are safe and abundant.
Importance of Water
Both urban and rural communities depend on a safe and reliable water supply. For the wide range of water’s uses — from irrigation, to drinking, to manufacturing processes — sustainable sources are vital to life, industry, and energy production. However, with competing demands, the nation’s water resources face issues of availability and quality.
Agriculture accounts for about 80 percent of consumptive use in the United States and relies on sustainable sources of water. Sound water and watershed management practices, such as modern conservation technologies, appropriate crop choices, and drought preparedness, can help farmers to:
- Enhance water use efficiency
- Conserve water resources
- Maximize production while minimizing environmental degradation
In order to address agricultural water quality and quantity issues, NIFA initiatives:
- Improve the quality of the nation’s surface water and groundwater resources
- Investigate effectiveness of conservation practices that affect watersheds on grazing lands
- Develop mobile tools for improved water and watershed management
- Help consumers understand the environmental impacts of water use
- Develop water management solutions that link food, water, climate, energy, and environmental issues