Water Conservation and Drought
Water and the many issues and concerns that surround it continue to swirl in political, agricultural and economic circles. When drought conditions hit, the value of water becomes even more urgently evident.
The UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences looks at the many prisms of water in all of its programs of teaching, research and Extension. Scientists measure it, predict it, protect it and study it. County Extension agents educate farmers, homeowners, 4-H'ers, community leaders and businesses through workshops, activities and projects. Professors also put students to work learning all they can about this irreplaceable resource.
Drought does not develop overnight but progressively over time. Proper management during a drought period can make or break a producer's ability to stay in the cattle business. One main concern during a drought period is feeding and nutrition of the cow herd. Several problems could arise due to drought conditions. A good producer should stay alert for warning signs and avoid potentially damaging situations.
Drought conditions are a yearly occurrence in Georgia and have been prolonged in several areas over the past several years. These conditions can have severe impacts on cattle, and every cattleman should have a plan in place to minimize the effects of drought on the farm’s finances. This publication describes several management strategies for producers to consider during drought conditions.
Research has shown that a landscape that has been carefully planned and installed and properly managed will be healthier, less prone to insects and diseases, and will require less irrigation. Georgia's landscape and turf industry and UGA Cooperative Extension are urging citizens to implement inexpensive and easy-to-perform landscape management practices that decrease the need for irrigation and/or lead to greater efficiency of irrigation when it is needed. This publication provides tips about planning, planting and maintaining the landscape to save water.
With recent droughts and increased emphasis on water conservation, rainwater harvesting (RWH) has become an important alternative source for outdoor irrigation. RWH is the collection of runoff from roofs during a rainfall event. The water is conveyed through a gutter system, filtered and stored in a tank for later use. In Georgia, non-potable harvested rainwater can be an alternative water supply for uses such as washing vehicles, landscape irrigation, livestock and wildlife watering, cooling towers and toilet flushing.
Dry weather tests pond design limits for water retention, watershed area and depth. Without adequate rainfall, ponds and the property around them lose value and the pond owner can lose the fish or have to spend substantial amounts of money for weed control or pond renovation. Over the past decade, drought conditions have been the normal weather pattern across the southeastern United States. Pond design and water management options should be considered each year to plan ahead for drought effects.
Nobody wants drought, but it’s been happening a lot in recent years in the Southeastern U.S. For farmers without irrigation, it may seem that little can be done besides accept what rain comes. However, by paying attention to forecasts and following general practices that help collect and retain moisture, risk can be reduced for all manner of future climate conditions. Here are some ideas for what can be done, centered around two practices: first, knowing what’s in store; second, planning ahead.
Research has shown that if you properly select, install and maintain ornamental plant, you greatly increase their survival and performance in the landscape. Following BMPs (Best Management Practices) not only conserve moisture in the landscape but will assure overall health and vigor of the ornamental plants.
Centipedegrass is ideal for the homeowner who wants a lawn that needs little care. It can be established by either seed or vegetative parts and does not require much fertilizer. Compared to other lawn grasses, it is moderately resistant to insects and diseases. Although centipedegrass is a relatively low maintenance grass, proper management is still required.
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On February 14th 2017, Mr. Ralph I. Lancaster, Jr., the Special Master appointed by the U.S. Supreme Court filed his Report on the lawsuit between Florida and Georgia as it relates to the amount of water flowing in the ACF Basin (Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin). There are a few different articles...
Pam Knox, UGA and CAES Agricultural Climatologist, referenced an article in the New York Times in her Blog Post on January 31, 2017. As I write this I am getting ready to resume a two-day conference focused on Conservation Production Systems. The article in the New York Times discusses no-till farming...
The Growing Georgia Newsletter, January 17, 2017 edition, has a story of how some farmers in California are storing water in the aquifers by flooding their fields in the wet season. Read the entire story on Creating Floods to Refill Aquifers.
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Today is a good day to remind folk that the Midwestern Regional Climate Center has a number of freeze map products available at their VIP site (Vegetation Impact Program). The site has national maps for a number of different parameters like median date of last spring frost (you choose 32...
Since it’s been so warm, I’ve been getting questions about the likelihood of seeing more snow before this winter season ends. I haven’t had time to do the statistics yet, but I ran across this older article from the NWS in Birmingham discussing the chances of getting snow in Alabama...
From my Facebook feed from Marshall Shepherd: “Here is one of many examples of how warming winters and earlier warming impact you. UGA geology professor Steven Holland has been tracking emergence of pollen in Athens since 2013. Note that it has gotten earlier and earlier. Already appearing in Feb 2017....
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Making an Impact
The viewing briefs below are from impact statements on the CAES Intranet. For more reports, visit the searchable impact statement database.