agriculture, rivers and water efficiency
Ref: E03

When we think about farming and agriculture we cannot help but think of the things that farming needs – land, machinery, manpower, water and the weather. These are just some of the important things that farming requires, you will probably be able to think of some more.

Cattle and rainwater fed trough
Cattle and rainwater fed trough

All of these factors are important but we are going to consider the weather and in particular rainfall. The rainfall in Cornwall and the south west region in general is one of the highest in Britain. Have a look at the rainfall data (E08c2). However, it is not just the total amount of rain falling in a year that is important, but how often and when it falls. We need to consider water availability. There may be times, and there certainly have been times over the past few years, when rain has not fallen for weeks at a time. This lack of rain and therefore water to feed animals, water crops and maintain hygiene standards on a farm can present problems. So trying to be as water efficient as possible is important to farmers.

Water use on a farm

Water use on a farm

We use water every day of our lives. Most of the water we use comes out of a tap and we probably never give it a second thought. In this way we demand water and at times when there has been low rainfall, the places where water is taken from, like reservoirs and rivers, can be in danger of drying up. As can be seen in ‘Death of a River’ (E06) allowing rivers to dry up can be very damaging to wildlife.

By being more water efficient, everyone, including farmers can help to safeguard rivers and the wildlife that is endangered when water levels become very low.

Have a look at the ‘The Water Save Challenge’ for agriculture (E03a) and see how farmers can help to be more water efficient and save water. If you live on a farm you might like to have a go at doing the challenge for your farm.