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Agricultural water conservation solutions for long standing drought problems in the North American West.

Article By: csteph87

Drought is a unfortunate consequence of global climate changes,with trends only predicting an escalation in frequency and intensity. Water conservation solutions may a requirement to reduce impact on hard hit drought communities.

Submitted:Mar 25, 2013    Reads: 14    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   

An unfortunate consequence of global climate changes, only escalating in frequency and intensity over the last several decades, drought affects more people than any other natural disaster and over the last 80 years has consequently lead to more deaths by comparison than were accounted for during the holocaust. That is, drought is responsible for more than 12 million deaths since 1930 killing two times the amount of people than what was accounted for during the holocaust.

Although there are no national policies to reduce the effects of drought on public health, a high-level meeting on national drought policies in Geneva have been held as recently as early March 2013 to address this problem with an emphasis on political awareness combined with knowledge from scientific research.

In the North American West, drought has had a significant impact on farming and agriculture. Colorado's San Luis Valley is one of the many communities that have taken a hard hit as the deepening drought and an over-pumping of what were once thought to be limitless aquifers consequently transformed the valley's physical and political landscape.

With significantly less water and fewer acres under cultivation, this is the painful truth much of the irrigated American West faces. In an effort to reduce the hard hitting drought, recent developments in regulating and taxing water usage have been implemented among conservative farmers in Colorado's San Luis' valley and will likely become more widespread and aggressive if current climate trends continue.

Some projects to reduce evaporation and conserve water storage are being built by irrigation companies. If small communities pull together to conserve water to fortify and support a collective whole making a country-wide effort to conserve water we can significantly reduce the impact of drought on a national level if not globally. For example, North of the San Luis Valley two local irrigation companies are replacing their open, dirt bottomed ditches with plastic pipe funded by government grants from the Federal Bureau of Reclamation.

The purpose of these projects is to reduce evaporation, decrease water seepage and also reduce run off of salt and selenium that irrigation water carries off from the soil and into the Colorado River system. The pipes are expected to deliver more water, some projections are predicting up to 40% more. Promising solutions like these, offer much hope to maximizing water efficiency and further reduce the impact of drought.


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