Every Drop Counts

April is water conservation monthOnly 1% of the earth’s water is suitable for drinking and agriculture is a major user of that precious supply.  Here are a few programs that help Florida growers conserve water.

The Mobile Irrigation Lab is an ongoing joint effort between the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), the U.S. Department of AgricultureNatural Resources Conservation Service (USDA–NRCS) and the agricultural community. The program began in 1987 to assist the District in meeting its statutory responsibilities and to help growers conserve water and meet permit requirements.  It includes free evaluations and technical assistance plus installation of soil moisture-sensing devices to aid in adapting a watering schedule to the site.

Mini-FARMS is a spinoff of the Facilitating Agricultural Resource Management Systems (FARMS) Program, which is a cost-share reimbursement program for agricultural projects that conserve water and protect water quality within the boundaries of the SWFWMD. While the FARMS Program funds larger projects, the Mini-FARMS Program reimburses growers for 75 percent of their costs, up to a maximum of $5,000 per approved water resources project.

The Water Education Alliance for Horticulture helps growers manage irrigation water.  Hosted by the University of Florida, this partnership between universities and industry offers resources for water treatment technologies, irrigation efficiency, and sustainable water use.  Educational videos and webinars cover water quality, monitoring, pathogens, regulations and more.

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About Kathy

Program Assistant with UF/IFAS Manatee County Extension Service, specializing in Integrated Pest Management for ornamental nurseries.
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