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Water Conservation and Agricultural Water Management

irrigation in fieldAs population continues to increase across the U.S. and around the world, there is a growing demand for safe, reliable sources of water to meet the needs of the expanding population. Farmers, ranchers, and rural communities are particularly susceptible to the mounting pressures to provide more water to urban and urbanizing areas at the expense of water supplies in rural and agricultural communities. The term “agricultural water security” describes the need to maintain adequate water supplies to meet the food and fiber needs of the expanding population—maximizing the efficiency of water use by farmers, ranchers, and rural communities.

Drought and the reliability of water supplies for agriculture and rural communities historically have been linked to Western states. However, issues surrounding agricultural water security have expanded beyond Western states and now represent a national crisis. Water supplies for irrigated agriculture in many areas are being consumed by expanding urban populations. Shifts in the allocation of these water resources could have dramatic impacts on the long-term supply of food and fiber in the U.S.

This area of the National Water Quality Program website will soon feature additional content that shows how Water Conservation and Agricultural Water Management issues are being addressed across the nation through the partnership of USDA NIFA and the Land Grant System.

More information can be found at the following Regional Water Quality Program Websites (these external links will open in a new window):

Great Lakes Heartland Northeast States & Caribbean Islands Northern Plains and Mountains Pacific Northwest
Southwest States and Pacific Islands

NIFA USDA information on Agricultural Water Security

Agricultural Water Conservation Clearinghouse which includes an invitation to submit relevant documents and other feedback .