Water Sustainability in Agriculture By Allan Eaglesham, Ken Korth and Ralph W.F. Hardy

Uses Of Water

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Introduction

Clean abundant water is both biologically and culturally essential to human life.uses of water in Agriculture, as the major freshwater-consuming activity on earth, is a key player in managing
water resources and in shaping future practices and water policies. As our population grows
and greater demands are made for food, feed, fiber and biobased industrial products, it
is essential that sustainable practices be employed to adapt to changing water needs and uses of water conditions. In 2010, the National Agricultural Biotechnology Council (NABC) issued a
white paper detailing water-related agricultural issues along with approaches to address
some of the related problems (NABC, 2010; Appendix). The 24th annual meeting of
the NABC, uses of  Water Sustainability in Agriculture—held at the University of Arkansas at
Fayetteville, June 11–13, 2012—further explored some of the complex issues facing
agriculture and future water needs. Discussions were structured around four focal areas,
summarized below, but encompassed multiple subjects directly tied to water sustainability
in agriculture.
In the first session, on adaptations of agriculture to changing water needs and uses of water, Hank Venema (International Institute for Sustainable Development) described a program with the dual
purpose of managing water phosphate levels while providing economic benefit. Lake Winnipeg is the collection point for a huge watershed, encompassing vast agricultural lands in Canada and the northern United States. Much of the nutrient flow into the lake occurs through a large marshland that is populated with an invasive species of cattail. By harvesting the plant material, using it as a combustible biofuel and recovering the phosphorus for future use, benefits are seen at several levels. This system provides an excellent model for taking a serious environmental issue and attempting to manage it in
an economically beneficial way. It was proposed that similar approaches will be applicable
in other situations and that this could serve as a model for a “watershed of the future.”
This talk served as an excellent starter to the conference,

Contents

PART I—CONFERENCE OVERVIEW

PART II—BREAKOUT SESSIONS

PART III—PLENARY SESSIONS

PART IV—BANQUET PRESENTATION

PART V—STUDENT VOICE AT NABC

PART VI—POSTERS

PART VII—PARTICIPANTS

APPENDIX

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