Water saving strategies for farming businesses

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Water saving strategies for farming businesses

Water conservation in the farming business has become an essential component of the production cycle. While it’s not at the top of many farmers’ priority lists because they need as much water as possible for their livestock and crops to survive, it’s still important to implement water-saving strategies where they can to help save water in South Africa. Water, or the lack thereof, is what makes all crops grow and livestock thrive. And without farmers, consumers wouldn’t have access to the food and produce we have today.

As the population grows, the demand for water in agriculture will also increase. Knowing this, now is the best time to save water and store what you have to keep your operations running smoothly. Depending on the type of farming business you own, you possibly utilise water in different ways compared to other farmers in the area. However, knowing and monitoring your water consumption is a good way to start tackling the sustainability issue before you have to think of additional ways to access water for your farm.

Here are a few tips to help save water on your farm:


  • Consider low-flow valves

On your farm, try to fit your taps with low-flow restrictions to ensure that the amount of water released out of the taps is limited. These valves are popular in domestic settings, used on toilets and showers, however, with irrigation taps and general taps used for livestock water and equipment cleaning, it will simply restrict or stop the water flow once it has reached a certain amount.


  • Apply for a water audit

As briefly mentioned, each business uses water for different reasons. If you are unsure of why your water reading is as high as it is, consider having a professional come in and audit your water consumption. Water leaks are causes of water wastage and increased bills, so if you’re concerned, this is a good way to reduce your costs. When you have an audit done, you will be provided with a detailed breakdown on where you’re overusing water on your farm and how you can change that.

This breakdown will also work out the different uses of water on your farm, for example, household, irrigation or pasture, and calculate the amount of water needed for each area. The auditor will also help you source alternative water options to ensure that you have a consistent supply.


  • Be water-wise in your methods

In agriculture, there aren’t always water-efficient equipment options, but it’s more about the technique you choose to use with your equipment that can save you on unnecessary water costs. You can also make use of drone technology and artificial intelligence (AI) software to monitor your farmlands and generate real-time reports of where you are using your water. These technologies are costly upfront, but as an investment, you will be able to save money in the long-term.


  • Reduce landscape water use

Realistically, you should maintain your pasture and harvest lands throughout the year to prevent maintenance when the next production cycle starts, but in a drought, you cannot afford to keep your taps running without reason. Lush pastures and crop beds require plenty of care to keep healthy all-year-round, so think about better soil management, water recycling, drip irrigation, reservoir storage and organic farming systems. Censoring your usage can help you to avoid any wastage. You should also invest in a feasible plan for runoff, to reduce the amount of contamination to natural water solutions.


  • Keep employees engaged and informed

You need to keep your employees in the loop of your water saving efforts and educate them about the importance of being water wise in their own lives. Once your employees adopt a sustainable mindset, they will be more careful in their actions and make an effort to perform green practices in everything that they do. Conserving water is not only beneficial for sustainability and sanitary reasons but also to help preserve the environment we live in. Farming forms a vital part of the food production in South Africa, and without fertile lands, farmers would not be able to perform agricultural practices.


Final thoughts

Saving water on your farm requires a well-thought-out strategy and plan of action. If you don’t make a conscious decision to save water, your operations are going to be affected and you will need to start looking for additional ways to source water for your farm. One of these will include consulting with PROXA Water in Cape Town about Cape Town desalination plant possibilities. Desalination in Cape Town can be used for agricultural purpose. It’s a water-wise initiative that does come at a hefty price, but if you don’t start saving and protecting water today, this is an option you will need to consider.

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