Water Quality, Conservation, Drought and Irrigation
The publications and other resources in this area address water use, soil moisture management, water quality, and water conservation. Topics range from created wetlands to choosing water-use-efficient crops to water quality in organic production to irrigation management. This section addresses the close relationship between agricultural production, soil moisture, crop and livestock water use, and water resources. As anyone who has tried to farm during a prolonged drought can testify, crop production depends on good management of soil moisture, whether from rain or supplemental irrigation. Livestock need clean water for healthy and productive growth. Yet, crop and livestock production can harm water quality unless good soil and water conservation practices are in use. Farmers and ranchers concerned with environmental degradation and climate change will find helpful recommendations in these ATTRA publications, and at the resource links listed in them, and in the Further Resources list, below.
NOTE: Some of the following documents are available as Adobe Acrobat PDFs. Download Acrobat Reader.
⇒ Publications and Resources
Since droughts can occur at any time, farmers and ranchers should manage accordingly.
The first three PowerPoint presentations focus on how to manage your cropland, pastures, or rangeland in good years, in order to minimize the impacts of drought when it occurs. The other three presentations discuss management practices that may be used during or following a drought. The Resource Guide provides a comprehensive text and Web-based materials, listed according to topics covered in the PowerPoint presentations.
These presentations may be viewed on your computer as self-study or information guides or may be projected and used in training sessions.
We welcome your feedback on these materials. Please send us a message and let us know how you used this information, whether it was useful, and any changes or corrections you can recommend.
Power Point Presentations
- Drought Introduction [PDF / 354KB]
An introduction to droughts, impacts on soils, crops, and animals with an overview of management practices to lessen the impacts of drought.
- Soil Health and Drought [PDF / 812KB]
Soil management and tillage practices to conserve water and maintain conditions for productive crop and forage growth during droughts.
- Pasture Health and Drought Protection [PDF / 599KB]
Rotational grazing practices and forage management to protect pasture resources prior to, during, and following a drought.
- Irrigation [PDF / 673KB]
Sustainable irrigation practices and methods for protecting soil and water quality when using irrigation.
- Pasture and Rangeland Management during Drought [PDF / 611KB]
Supplement feeding practices, toxic plants, toxic syndromes associated with drought, animal management and selective culling to reduce stress on land resources.
- Water, Heat Stress, and Drought [PDF / 537KB]
Animal water needs, water quality concerns, relationships between water quality, feed quality, and water consumption. Factors affecting heat stress and practices for minimizing it.
Drought Resource Guide [HTML]
A comprehensive list of text and Web-base resources organized according to topics addressed in the Power Point presentations. This list also provides links to climate monitoring information, drought-tolerant plant lists, and drought disaster relief programs. State-specific drought information and drought programs are provided at the end of this document.