Water Scarcity Impact on Agriculture what does it mean for South Africa?
During the last decade, more so the last two years, the topic of water scarcity has repeatedly popped up during environmental talks and conferences - not only in South Africa but all over the world. Climate change and the unpredictability of weather patterns have had such a major impact on livestock, agriculture and households that ultimately turned the habitual use of water into a luxury.
What is water scarcity?
Water scarcity is the lack of sufficient available consumable fresh water from resources that are required within a specific region to fulfil a variety of purposes such as uses for residential, industrial and agriculture. If there is not enough water to provide for one or all of these purposes, then a region can be considered as a water scarce area.
What impact does water scarcity have on agriculture?
Needless to say, that lack of water in agriculture has a huge impact on the sustainability of a steady food supply for any and every country. Not being able to water crops means that farmers are unable to provide food for growing regions and countries all over the world. In a report released by the International Water Management Institute, agriculture is constantly competing with residential, industrial and environmental practices for water. Small-scale farmers have already adapted by applying additional methods of watering crops like drip irrigation, dry farming or by capturing and storing water with rainwater harvesting systems. It is by implementing methods like these that we reduce the stress on mainline water usage.
Small-scale farming a smart solution
It is not always possible to irrigate entire fields, and most areas and farms are 100% dependable on rainwater when it comes to crops. An alternative solution to improve agriculture and sustain a steady food supply is to start small with harvesting systems that capture fresh rainwater for usage. Unlike standard rain irrigation that only lasts as long as it rains, rainwater harvesting systems allow for storage which again allows for sporadical and regular irrigation of your personal crops – even when there is no rain.