We never know the worth of the water until the well is dry. -THOMAS FULLER
When I was 12 years old, I wrote a letter to the Director of Coca-Cola Bulawayo asking for a donation to my school fundraiser. We were fundraising to help build the Zambezi pipeline to improve water supply to drought-prone Bulawayo. Coca-Cola agreed to send us a truck full of coke!
Unfortunately, more than two decades later that pipeline still hasn't been built, and Matebeleland still faces major water shortages.
Energy, water and food are closely linked. Water is needed to extract energy and generate power; energy is needed to treat, distill and transport water; and both water and energy are needed to grow food. Agriculture consumes approximately 70% of world water supplies.
This year Zambia and Zimbabwe are facing a major drought with diminishing water supplies and frequent, long-lasting power outages. Last year's unpredictable and extreme weather patterns had a negative impact on available food supplies. This year's El Nino is forecast to be severe and likely to cause suppressed rain throughout the region. Farmers, therefore, need to explore ways to access water and use their available water resources more efficiently.
So with water on our minds, let's explore 7 alternative and sustainable ways to access water for farming:
#1. Solar Powered Water Pumps
|Solar Pump-Sun Culture|
|Solar Water -Chimuts Solar|
#2. Water Storage Tanks
|Water Tank- JC Agriculture Services|
#4. Drip Irrigation
|Drip Irrigation- Green Desert agro services|
Drip irrigation is the most efficient method of irrigation. It reduces water waste by up to half and maximizes the effectiveness of your irrigation. It also gives you have accurate control over your water application. With a micro drip system you can grow high-value fruit and vegetables in the off-season when prices are better.
#5. Treadle Pumps
|Treadle Pump- IDE|
#6. Waste Water Recycling
The water from sinks, showers and even toilets could be recycled, treated and used in agriculture. Waste water is commonly used in dry countries like Israel.
For countries closer to the sea like Mozambique and South Africa, they could take sea water, remove the salt and use it in irrigation. The process is called desalination. The challenge with desalination is it's expensive and needs a lot of energy.
Let's be prepared this growing season! Look at the options that fit your budget and start planning your sustainable water solutions early.
Image Credit: Sunculture /Chimuts Solar / JC Agriculture Services/ IDE / Pedstock / Green Desert agroservices