Posted on Leave a comment

Solutions for Overcoming Water Challenges

Water is a precious element that occupies more than 60% of the planet. However, there is only a limited amount of fresh water which is threatened by effects of climate change and human activities. Fresh water is mainly found in rivers, streams, wetlands, and lakes. Unfortunately, it only accounts to about 2.5% of all water on Earth, according to the UN.

In agriculture, water is an important resource that is required by plants throughout their growing period. In areas that do not receive adequate rainfall, irrigation is the only alternative. It can be done in different ways such as by sprinkling, using drip lines, or over-head irrigation. Crops have different water requirements and hence different methods can be used to apply water. The efficiency of irrigation methods varies depending with the crop.

Knowing the most efficient irrigation method and achieving uniform water application is one of the greatest challenges to most fruit farmers. For instance, overhead irrigation can be efficient in apple and avocado farming and not in strawberry and grape farming. The soil type and drainage, crop, elevation of the land, field size and weather conditions determine the efficiency of an irrigation system.

Key water challenges

As the global population increases, the demand for fresh water and food increases. This means that more land will be converted for agricultural activities to sustain the growing population. In the next 2 decades, the demand for fresh water will have increased by 30%.

What are some key water challenges that are currently being experienced?

  • Water pollution especially in towns which contributes to a decrease in safe water for farming and sanitation services.
  • Climate change
  • Water-related natural calamities such as drought and floods
  • Increased food production which has resulted to an increase in the amount of water withdrawn from water sources for irrigation.  

The solution to water challenges

Fresh water is an important resource that is required by the entire natural ecosystems. It, therefore, needs to be preserved and protected all the time. Some of the solutions that can be employed to solve water challenges include:

  • Practicing agroforestry – fruit farming is one of the solutions to climate change. Apart from enhancing greener environments, they can also be a good source of income.
  • Restoring natural wetlands and grasslands
  • Practicing sustainable water use in agriculture. This can be done by using drip and sprinkler irrigation methods.
  • Reconnecting rivers to flood plains

How sustainable farmers respond to water challenges

Agriculture is considered the main consumer of fresh water, contributing to 70 percent of water withdrawals. Irrigation is an important component that enhances crop production. However, unsustainable farming practices such as extensive use of fertilizers and pesticides will lead to water contamination.

As a response to these challenges, fruit farmers should consider sustainable practices and nature-based solutions like:

  • Using efficient irrigation methods such as drips and only practice irrigation when necessary.
  • Harvest rain water for irrigation
  • Minimize water pollution by applying fertilizers and pesticides wisely

Why farmers should consider using drip irrigation

Drip lines can be used for irrigation and fertigation (application of pesticides and water-soluble nutrients). These days, fruit farmers are extensively using drip irrigation in their farms. By doing so, farmers are:

  • Preventing soil erosion and maintaining soil productivity
  • Reducing pesticide, fertilizer, and water use
  • Reducing irrigation and farming costs
  • Increasing yield quantity and quality

It is the role of every farmer to promote water conservation. We encourage farmers to embrace technological advancements to make fruit farming more profitable by cutting farming costs and minimizing water loss. Drip irrigation is the most efficient irrigation method in passion, strawberry, and grape orchards.

Posted on Leave a comment

Water storage can help farmers during dry seasons

water storage

Farmers in Kenya are at times hindered from daily activities due to lack of enough water. However, with Kenya being well geographically placed with quite some rain during the season, Kenyans can store water and use it when it is dry.

Kenya’s per capita water is less than 600 cubic metres, which is below the global threshold of 1,000, making it one of the chronically water-scarce nations. Kenya’s water problem is, thought-provoking: if millions are not threatened by severe drought, they are fighting to remain afloat amid raging floods. Water scarcity is one of the major challenges to sustainable food production the world over, and climate change experts warn that it will only get worse as the world’s population continues rising. But local farmers can alleviate this situation by investing in water harvesting technologies and irrigation.

In Kenya, reservoirs and rock pools are common water storage facilities in homes or farms. A number of people use these methods of water storage to either harvest or store water which is often used either in normal home operations or in farms.

The urge to ensure there is adequate water that can push families into cluttering the garden with many unsightly tanks. Although the sight of one or two overhead tanks in the garden can be forgiven, it’s important to find a better way to place the water storage systems in the compound without interfering with the landscaping of the surrounding farm.

Also Read: Why You should shift gears to Hass avocado and Macadamia farming

Ways Of Storing Water

There are a number of options that you can explore to ensure you collect and store water depending on the space available and the water requirement for one’s home or farm. For instance, a home with high dependency on rain water due to perennial water shortage may deem it necessary to have several huge underground tanks. On the other hand, a small family may only settle for an overhead tank with a capacity of 10,000 litres, rather than digging a dam or building a rock pool in their property.

The type of water storage system can only be settled on after the family has identified its water needs. This helps one know the capacity of water storage facility needed. After which, one can choose among the available options.

However, an underground tank is one of the best choices for individuals keen on maintaining a proper manicured garden in their compound. The tank is concealed below the garden surface and is constructed using concrete. Drainage systems are put in place to trap water and guide it to the tank below. Underground tanks are often used by people practicing rain water harvesting.

Also Read: Why buy vegetables while you can have your own bag garden?

After constructing the tank, grass and trees are grown on the surface, to give the garden a flawless look.  Other than concrete, bricks can also be used to construct the underground tank that can be as big as one may wish. In case you are not sure about how to go about it, get help from experts on rain water harvesting. Landscapers can also assist homeowners to design the garden, as well as recommend the best trees or plants to be grown on the surface.

Water tanks can be camouflaged by either being placed on a tower that is raised above the ground. If it’s not too high up, it can have creeping plants grown around the tank or made to resemble the garden pattern or design.

A water tank with a pattern similar to the garden layout or landscape is creative and attractive. It’s pleasant to the eye and adds value to the garden. The design can be done according to one’s taste and preference.

It is paramount to increase investment in terms of water storage techniques, including storing groundwater during wet season, harvesting rainwater and conserving soil moisture through storing water in the ground.