|Water... handle with care|
Agriculture is the largest user of fresh water in the world and as demand grows for more food production, conflicts regarding water use are inevitable. In some areas, additional investment in irrigation and water supplies may provide room for further expansion of irrigated cropland. However in most areas of western North America, water is no longer in abundant supply and ferocious arguments erupt over water allocation. Since new supplies of irrigation water appear unlikely, there is significant incentive to improve water use efficiency. The pressure on the agricultural industry to carefully conserve water resources will certainly intensify.
|Soil water during the drying process|
|An impaired root system hinders water and nutrient uptake|
Plants grown with adequate nutrition typically have larger tops and root systems compared with crops grown with an inadequate nutrient supply. These well-fertilized plants are generally larger and may have greater water loss (transpiration), but a lower transpiration ratio. In other words, the healthy plant may use more water, but will generally produce larger yields. This translates into more yield per gallon of water extracted from the soil. Another way to say this is that greater water use efficiency results from proper plant nutrition.
|The amount of water required to grow a crop|
Using a typical 2,300-calorie menu proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the following meal was constructed and the gallons of water required to produce that particular food item are shown.
Yes… and we all benefit tremendously from their productivity. The water may not only come from our faucets, but it also comes to us in every bite we take.