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Water for Agriculture

A mobile sprinkler systems waters a farm field

Agriculture is second only to public supply in Florida's water consumption. According to the Florida Statewide Agricultural Irrigation Demand (FSAID) report from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service (FDACS), 21% of agricultural land in the state was irrigated in 2015, which corresponds to approximately 1.8 million acres. Agriculture uses a variety of water sources for irrigation including surface waters, groundwater, and reclaimed water.

As water moves through agricultural landscapes, whether from irrigation or rainfall, there is opportunity for agrochemicals to be transported away from their agricultural target. To improve agrochemical and water efficiencies in our agricultural systems, cooperative efforts by stakeholders, agencies, and extension faculty developed a Best Management Practices (BMP) program.

UF/IFAS Extension provides information and programs on several topics related to the interconnected nature of agriculture and water resources. In addition, UF/IFAS offers weather-related information for agricultural water management. Specific topics and information sources are identified.

Irrigation

Irrigation is used to provide water needed by plants that is not provided by rainfall. How irrigation is managed and the type of water used for irrigation varies throughout the state depending on the particular crop and resources available. A fundamental component of efficient irrigation is to determine the quantity of irrigation needed and when to apply it, or irrigation scheduling. See programs

Best Managment Practices

Agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) are practical measures that producers can take to reduce the amount of fertilizers, pesticides, animal waste, and other pollutants entering our water resources from agricultural lands. See programs

Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs)

Scientific determinations of the maximum amount of a given pollutant that a surface water can absorb and still meet the water quality standards that protect human health and aquatic life. See programs

Climate and Weather

In Florida, climate variability may impact water needs. Crop development and yield responds to both individual weather events and seasonal climate variation. See programs