Water in Regenerative Agriculture
Water in Regenerative Agriculture
Lakes, Streams, Rivers and Coastal Waters in addition to other things, are for play – to fish in the water, swim in the water! You long for those summer days to float on the lake, swim in the pond, fish the river, jump into the ocean. What simple pleasures these can be – what memories they contain.
Our waterways have become, or are becoming unusable due to the growth of algae blooms in the water. Lake Erie, The Mississippi River, The Gulf Coast, The Red Tides of the Florida and New Jersey Coasts have all experienced this dreadful problem. This crud found in the algae bloom cuts off the Oxygen to the water and kills off aquatic life in the water. The crud also has known harmful physical impact to humans like vomiting, rashes and some neurological diseases.
The primary cause of these algae blooms is known: run off into the waterway of nitrogen, phosphorous, other fertilizers and in some cases human factors. This run-off occurs when the soil is crusted or compacted and after a heavy rainfall the water on the agricultural land or gardens runs-off of the land taking the nitrogen and phosphorous with it.
But just as the cause of these algae blooms is known, so are solutions.
Help us bring these lakes, streams, and rivers back to life!
Agriculture currently uses roughly 70% of all freshwater withdrawals in the world today; primarily due to irrigation. By 2030 the United Nations estimates ½ of the world’s population will live in high water-stress locales3. Another study predicts that by 2040 there will not be enough water in the world to quench the thirst of the world’s population and its energy needs (energy is the second largest user of water)4.
Given that agriculture requires so much of the world’s freshwater, agriculture will need to find solutions to use less water.
Irrigation Water Has Other Issues: Most irrigation water today comes from snow melt, underground aquifers, or reclaimed water. Although these are helpful sources, they are not without their own issues. Snowmelt often lacks enough salts and therefore leeches needed calcium below the roots, resulting in less robust plants. Underground Aquifer water and reclaimed waters often have the opposite problem – too much salt. Too much salt stunts the growth of the plant.
- Replace the lost calcium caused by the leeching in a low salt irrigation water environment;
- Create a cation exchange reaction (in water with too much salt) whereby the calcium is solubilized as calcium sulfate which replaces the salt, leaving a soluble sodium sulfate in the water which is then leeched out.
Then, there is the cost to buy water. In some cases, access to water is regulated and comes with a significant cost. Just think of the savings if you could reduce your irrigation water requirements 30%?
In times of water scarcity, it’s time for better soil; its time for EcoGEM, LLC’s Soil Enhancer!
1O’Brien, D. (2017) Using Gypsum to Help Reduce Phosphorus Runoff, USDA Agriculture Research Service-Research and Science Feb 21, 2017
2 Dr. Brent Rouppert
3 United Nations Human Development Report, 2006 UNDP
4 Aarhus University, Denmark, Winnie Axelson, Science Daily July 29, 2014
5 Oster J.D., (1982) Gypsum usage in irrigated agriculture: A review. Fertilizer Research 3, pp73-89 (1982).