“Growing the right crops in the right places, being as efficient as they can possibly be—they know that. In California, we’re doing more drip irrigation, [instead of] flood-irrigated, for alfalfa,” says Hydrologist Jay Famiglietti in a Q&A response with Drovers on how ag producers can help with water conservation.
In his work using NASA satellites to study ground water, he has found the struggle for a sustainable supply of water to feed a growing population is also playing out in the U.S. Water conservation, along with food and energy challenges will be the focus of discussion in Famiglietti’s upcoming talk at the Henry C. Gardiner Global Food Systems Lecture, “Water, Food, and Energy: Interwoven challenges to sustainable resource management,” held at Kansas State University’s McCain Auditorium, 7 p.m., on Monday, Oct. 3.
"The common issue in over half of the world's major aquifers is that we use more water than is available on an annual renewable basis, primarily for food production, and we make up the shortfall from groundwater," Famiglietti says in a statement to K-State. "Another common feature is poor management of groundwater. Consequently, many aquifers, such as those in India, the Middle East and China are being depleted at a very rapid pace."
Famiglietti seeks to inform people about the disappearance of groundwater in over half of the world’s major aquifers, including the Ogallala Aquifer, which spans eight states and supplies 30% of the water used in U.S. agriculture.
“We use more water than we have, and are making up the difference with groundwater,” Famiglietti tells Drovers. “Most of our water use is unregulated. We need to come up with a strategy for sustainable global food production.
Click here to read the Q&A, “Every last drop counts,” with Famiglietti and Drovers’ Livestock and Production editor Sara Brown.