It only makes sense to write about water today. The last issue of Farming Matters (AgriCultures Network) was all about water. And all that snow I spoke about in my last blog? It has completely melted and washed out part of the road seen in those winter shots. I love water, but oh my! Water and farming is yuck! There is just so much muck! Perhaps that’s just fine if you’re a duck!
And then there is negligence. In some parts of the world, people cannot even get enough to drink, and here, the local farmer is allowing surface water to travel through manure. I took the Nutrient Management courses offered in Ontario and learned that it is not very difficult to prevent surface water from becoming contaminated. With every melt and downpour, I witness this just up the road from me. And it is right across from the culvert you see gushing forth above. This is not sustainable farming.
Reading the “Negotiating the Waters” issue of Farming Matters was interesting because where I live, I rarely have to think about water. We are lucky in Eastern Canada to have an abundance of it. Quality is a serious issue, but for 10 or 11 months of the year, availability is not.
Collaboration and co-operation are instrumental in the availability and quality of water, and since farming needs so much of it, starting with the farmer only makes sense. Globally, we have different interests and priorities about water which could lead to international conflict when it becomes more scarce. “Israeli settlers on hilltops of the Occupied Palestine Territories consider a swimming pool to be a priority, while the people down hill need to harvest rainwater to irrigate their field.” I had no idea. My water enters a pipe at the escarpment and travels half a kilometre 18 inches below the surface to my home. It flows continuously without a pump and then empties into a gully. I have infinite availability (when the pipes don’t freeze)!
Anil Gupta of the National Innovation Centre in India, makes some very good points about water wastage and how we can become wiser about its conservation. “Satisfying all our needs at our own place rather than at our communal place became a lifestyle, a power and status symbol. Wasteful and redundant usage became the next logical step.” Instead, when communities are created, “water points could become (again) meeting points where social and cultural exchanges” take place and where community building and knowledge sharing could occur. “We have to create new rituals, new institutions, new fashions and new trends. Water is too precious to be wasted.”