Water Issues • Sally Lay • Jason Jensen • S. Kumagai • Wesley Watson
Water Topics • Water Policy • Ramifications of Irrigation • Impacts from pollution and use • Irrigation Systems
General water usage • General water use: • The average cost for water supplied to a home in the U.S. is about two dollars per 1,000/gal which equals 5 gallons for a penny. • About 1 percent of the earth’s water is suitable for drinking. • The average resident uses 100,000 gal/yr
Safe drinking water act: The SDWA authorized the • Wellhead Protection Program in 1986 to protect supplies of ground water used as public drinking water from contamination by chemicals and other hazards, including pesticides, nutrients, and other agricultural chemicals.
The program is based on the concept that land-use controls and other preventive measures can protect groundwater. As of December 1998, 45 States have EPA-approved wellhead protection programs. The 1996 amendments to the SDWA have potential, though indirect, implications for agricultural producers
Policy • Environmental Quality Incentive Program • Conservation Technical Assistance • Conservation Compliance • Conservation Reserve Program
Buffer Initiative • Wetlands Reserve Program • Small Watershed Program • Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program
Nonpoint source Program • National Estuary Program • Clean Lakes Program • Coastal Zone management Act
Policy • Wellhead Protection Program • Comprehensive State Ground Water Protection Program • Safe drinking Water Act
Policy • Great Lakes Program • Chesapeake Bay Program • Gulf Of Mexico Program • Lake Champlain Basin Program
Water withdraws for public distribution systems increased by 48 percent from 1980-1995, which might be due to population increase of 50 percent and a shift to arid and warmer climates.
Several approaches for protecting water quality have been developed at the Federal and State levels. These approaches use a variety of incentive mechanisms for reducing pollution discharges. Pollution from factories and other point sources is controlled through regulations and penalties. In contrast, policies and programs for reducing pollution from agriculture and other nonpoint sources are mostly based on voluntary approaches providing education, technical, and cost-sharing assistance.
Federal Water Quality ProgramsAffecting Agriculture in 1996EPA-Administered Programs • Clean Water Act Programs: • Clean Lakes Program (Section 314) • Nonpoint Source Program (Section 319) • National Estuary Program (Section 320) • National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System • (Section 402) • Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Programs • Regional Programs • Safe Water Drinking Act • Pesticide Programs • Comprehensive State Ground-Water Protection Program
EPA Programs Affecting Agriculture While Federal water quality laws tend to focus on point sources, they do not ignore nonpoint sources. The primary Federal law, the Clean Water Act (CWA), addresses both point and nonpoint source pollution. Point sources are controlled through enforceable mechanisms. Pollution from point sources is subject to • technology-based controls, which consist of uniform, EPA-established standards of treatment that apply to certain industries and municipal sewage treatment facilities, and • water quality-based controls where technology-based controls are not adequate to meet State water quality standards.
USDA-Administered Programs • Agricultural Conservation Program (ACP): • Water Quality Incentives Projects (WQIP) • Integrated Crop Management (ICM) Practice • Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA) Program • Colorado River Salinity Control Program (CRSCP) • Water Quality Program (WQP): • Research and development • Education, technical, and financial assistance • Data base development and evaluation
Farm Bill Programs (1985 and 1990): • Conservation Compliance • Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) • Wetland Reserve Program (WRT) • Integrated Farm Management Program • Pesticide Record-Keeping • Great Plains Conservation Program • Small Watershed Program • Resource Conservation and Development Program
Lessons Learned from USDA Water Quality Programs • Experience with programs such as the Model Implementation Program, Rural Clean Waters Program, and the Water Quality Program suggest some important factors that can enhance the performance of USDA efforts to protect water quality. • Voluntary programs are likely to be most successful in areas where farmers recognize that agriculture contributes to severe local pollution problems such as groundwater impairment.
Voluntary programs are likely to be successful when recommended practices generate higher returns. • Cost-effectiveness is enhanced when program activities are targeted to watersheds where agriculture is the primary source of water quality impairment. • Flexible cost-share programs to encourage producers to adopt certain management practices are more efficient than those with fixed rates and limited lists of supported practices
Local research on the economic and physical performance of recommended practices can improve adoption rates of those practices. • Interaction with non-USDA agencies, organizations, and local businesses within a watershed is important. • More attention to and resources for water quality monitoring and project evaluation could help determine the cost effectiveness of alternative practices and assist in the development of targeting strategies for program improvement. • Source: Ribaudo, 1998.
Annual renewable supplies in surface streams and aquifers total roughly 1,500 mil acre-feet per year One quarter is withdrawn for use in homes, farms, and industry 7 percent is actually used Agriculture is largest water use Irrigated agriculture contributes almost half the total value of crop sales on just 16 percent of total cropland harvested. Irrigation
Irrigation Farm and ranch irrigation survey is the sole data source for acres irrigated by source of water that also collects additional information, such as costs. A groundwater-irrigated farm on average will have more than three wells, with other 9 percent of the farms having 10 or more wells. On average more than 13 million households use private wells for their water supply.
On average the cost of on-farm surface water is likely the lowest. Off-farm water is supplied to more then 83,000 farm nationwide, 2/3 of these acres are concentrated in 6 states (CA. WA. WY.CO. MT. ID.) ~ Based on acreage not water service. Cost of water
This system has little financial incentive to conserve because charges are assessed independently of the amount of the water allotment used. The price irrigators pay for water is usually associated with the expense of developing and providing the resource and may not reflect the full social cost of its use. Irrigation
An alternative to this approach could be set administratively, however this would require precise adjustments in water prices. Coupled with localized nature of the hydrologic systems and the externalities associated with water use and reuse would make this method unsound. Irrigation cost
Clean Water Act Water quality in terms of designated beneficial uses with numeric and narrative criteria that support each use Physical Chemical Biological Allows States and tribes to set their own water quality
Clean Water Act Discharges of toxic pollutions have been reduced billons pounds per year Reductions in pollutions have improved the health of aquatic ecosystem BUT!! There are still many area where is polluted From Agricultural lands and other nonpoint source States
AgriculturalImplicationsfor Policy How water quality changes with time, and to study how human activities and natural factors affect water quality Agricultural land Stream Ex Mississippi river Ground water
Agricultural Pollution and Economic Impacts Sediment Damage Disturbing the soil through tillage and cultivation and leaving it without vegetative cover may increase the rate of soil erosion The largest contamination of surface water Causes various damage to water resources and to water uses
Agricultural Pollution and Economic Impacts Nutrient Damage N and P can cause quality problems Nitrate Phosphate Pesticide Damage (pests, fungus, and disease) Harm freshwater and marine organisms
Agricultural Pollution and Economic Impacts Mineral Damage Dissolved salt and other minerals Increase water treatment cost Force development of alternative water supplies Reduce the life span Pathogen Damage Animal waste can cause several disease
Value of Clean Water Economic value of changes of water quality is important Reduce pollution from agricultural production Few studies have looked at the costs of water pollution and the benefit of pollution reduction It costs tens of billions dollars!!
Irrigation Accounts for 34% of the water usage Irrigated Crop Production Maintain farm profitability Reduce the impact of irrigated water quality Enhancing producer net returns Irrigation Water Management
Agriculture uses the most water through the practice of irrigation 100 million gallons per year, per acre of farmland Accounts for 40% of fresh water withdrawals Irrigation
Gravity-Flow Systems Distribute water across the field. Open ditches Aboveground pipe Underground pipe Water runs one-eighth to one-half mile. Pipeline conveyance systems Reduces the amount of water lost to non-crop vegetation Irrigation Application Systems
Irrigation Application Systems Pressurized Application Systems and Practices Pipeline conveyance Center –pivot Linear or Lateral-move Hand-move Solid set Big gun system Side-roll Wheel-move
Improved center pivots and lateral-move Low-energy precision application (LEPA) Low-flow irrigation systems Improved Systems and Practices
Low-pressure center-pivot Linear-move Low-energy precision application Center-pivot Technology
Summation • There is no one easy answer to the problems that plague water quality and use. • The best solution is for the individual to better inform themselves and others about programs, problems, and possible solutions.