How can we use less water and preserve water quality in agriculture?
By adopting the following recommended practices, the agriculture sector can promote sustainable management of water and mitigate water-related risks.
- Nutrient management practices, including optimized timing and subsurface placement of fertilizer, soil testing for fertilization needs, and using fertilizers with urease or nitrification inhibitors.
- Implementing practices to reduce input runoff, such as using cover crops or reduced tillage.
- Utilizing wetlands or reactive biofilters to trap nutrients.
- Planting or maintaining permanent vegetation around water bodies (riparian zones).
- Increasing soil organic matter through measures like cover crops and reduced tillage.
- Enhancing water capture and storage and expanding sustainable irrigation and drainage systems.
- Selecting plant and animal varieties better adapted to climate extremes. 11
Public Policy for water management in Canada
Water management in Canada is primarily the responsibility of provincial governments. 12 Provincial legislative powers include, but are not restricted to, areas of:
- flow regulation
- authorization of water use development
- water supply
- pollution control
- thermal and hydroelectric power development. 13
The responsibility for water management is also shared by federal, provincial, and municipal governments, and in some instances, by the territories and by Aboriginal governments under self-government agreements. 14 15 is primarily Alberta’s responsibility. 16
When there is flooding or drought, the impacts on agriculture can lead to food shortages. To secure the future of water management for food production, we need to involve agricultural producers and other water users in a collaborative and adaptive approach to policymaking.
Research that impacts decision-making for water management
The Simpson Centre for Food and Agricultural Policy is committed to creating and curating research that can inform public discussions about the management of water, considering different user perspectives, negotiations about trade-offs, and enabling these discussions to be informed by good science and forecasting. Join us in conversations about long-term management strategies for our water resources.