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C o n n e c t i n g t he D o t s between. Ag W a t e r Use & U r b a n C o n s u m e r s. Mitch Peele, Sr. Director of Public Policy July 14, 2011. Overview. Effect of changing demographics Resulting misconceptions Agriculture ’ s approach to protecting water resources

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C o n n e c t i n g t he D o t s between

Ag W a t e r Use & U r b a n C o n s u m e r s

Mitch Peele, Sr. Director of Public Policy

July 14, 2011

  • Effect of changing demographics
  • Resulting misconceptions
  • Agriculture’s approach to protecting water resources
  • The strategic plan
  • AgWRAP
  • The “connection”
  • Future Steps
1 the effect of changing demographics
1. The Effect of Changing Demographics


  • For most of our history, NC was more rural than urban
  • In 1990, NC was 53% rural and 47% urban
  • Most people or their parents grew up on a farm


  • In 2010, NC was 49% rural and 51% urban
  • Today, most people are a generation or 2 removed from the farm
1 the effect of changing demographics super 8 counties 40
1. The Effect of Changing Demographics (Super 8 Counties - 40%)

Wake Durham Forsyth New Hanover

Mecklenburg Buncombe Guilford Cumberland

1 the effect of changing demographics urban ring counties 35
1. The Effect of Changing Demographics (Urban Ring Counties - 35%)

Gaston Rowan Harnett

Orange Randolph Rockingham

Cabarrus Wilson Cleveland

Union Henderson Robeson

Davidson Wayne Burke

Catawba Nash Pitt

Caldwell Moore Craven

Iredell Brunswick

Johnston Onslow

Alamance Lincoln

2 resulting misconceptions lack of understanding
2. Resulting Misconceptions(Lack of Understanding)
  • We’re big water users (USGS, CCPCUA Fiscal Note)
  • We have little to no data
  • We are wasteful
  • We represent nonessential uses
2 resulting misconceptions the reality
2. Resulting Misconceptions(The Reality)
  • Ag is not a big water user
    • CCP (<10%)
    • Statewide (<2%)
  • Ag water use data
    • Statewide registration data for many years
    • CCP data for 10 years
    • Statewide ag survey since 2007
  • Ag is leading the way in conservation
    • 45 conservation standard practices
    • Green Industry
    • Extension
  • Green Industry use is essential
    • Approximately $900 million to state economy
    • Provides environmental benefits
    • Improves land value

What's Reality?

The Voice of Agriculture®

3 agriculture s approach to protecting water resources
3. Agriculture’s Approach to Protecting Water Resources
  • Voluntary
  • Conservation
  • Increased efficiency
  • Water audits
  • Increased reuse
  • Increased storage capacity
  • Innovative solutions (ASTAR)
4 the strategic plan the need
4. The Strategic Plan(The Need)
  • Ideas were random
  • Need for science/data
  • Need more credible approach
    • (WAS, Water 2030)
  • Need to identify what we need to do and how to get there
  • Need a roadmap
4 the strategic plan the contents
4. The Strategic Plan(The Contents)
  • Altria grant
  • 80+ ag groups
  • Objectives
    • Maintaining Riparian Rights
    • Increasing On-Farm Water Storage Capacity
    • Protecting Farmers’ Ability to Adapt
    • Implementing best management practices
    • Encouraging Voluntary Water-Use Reporting
    • Ensuring Farmers Right to Use Water in Droughts
  • Funds were needed to implement
5 agwrap agriculture water resource assistance program
5. AgWRAPAgriculture Water Resource Assistance Program
  • $1 million in Budget Bill
  • Administered through Soil & Water
  • Conservation practices
  • Increased efficiencies
  • Increased storage capacity

So, what’s the connection

with urban consumers?

The Voice of Agriculture®

6 the connection opportunities
6. The “Connection”(Opportunities)
  • Future growth in agriculture
    • (+ $70 billion today)
  • Specialty crops market opportunities
    • Nursery crops
    • New development markets
    • Fruits and vegetable crops (local foods)
    • Embracement by urban consumers
  • Local economies depend on agriculture (production, processing, transportation, wholesale, retail, etc.)
6 the connection the conflicts
6. The “Connection”(The Conflicts)
  • Opposition to irrigation of lawns, landscapes, etc
  • Patchwork of ordinances regarding water use
  • Renewed debate over essential uses
    • Public water supplies will become priority
    • Large industrial employers will become priority
  • Urban consumers still have misconception (small and large farms)
  • Water policies will be questioned
6 the connection possible solutions
6. The “Connection”(Possible Solutions)
  • Better understanding of demand versus supply
    • DENR river basin models
  • Identification of hot spots
  • Local/regional water advisory councils (voluntary)
  • Increased education regarding importance of green industry
  • Implementation of ag and urban conservation measures
  • Increased use of reclaimed water
  • Increased storage capacity (reservoirs)
7 future steps
7. Future Steps
  • Build partnerships with local governments
  • Collaborate with other user groups on common goals
  • Work with legislature to adopt reasonable water policy
  • Ag Water Work Group, GIC water wise, Extension, Rural Center, DENR river basin stakeholders, possible legislative Water Study