Water Efficiency Practices in Urban Agriculture

Man doing urban agricultureUrban agriculture is a becoming a trend in the United States, and not only in the farming states, but also in progressive cities. In 2016, Boston and Chicago are among the top urban farming cities in the country. As more people grow food crops in their backyards, the concern on water supply and conservation rises accordingly.

There are many factors that contribute to water efficiency or the lack thereof. A case study of urban farms in Utah identified field size, crop choice, and irrigation scheduling as examples. Regardless, the study recommended proper irrigation scheduling and awareness of its economic benefits as solutions to inefficiency problems.

Irrigation Methods in Urban Farms

The case study also recognized that majority of community urban farms rely on automated sprinklers and/or drip-irrigation systems. They are the most convenient although not 100% efficient.

There are two goals for urban farming irrigation: coverage and depth. You need to water the entire plot area and the volume should be enough to achieve the perfect saturation depth. Running short on either may parch a garden, resulting in poor quality produce.

Practices for Efficient Irrigation

Ensuring irrigation depth and coverage will increase your water bill, but you can always regulate the cost and water wastage:

  • Invest in a fully-automated system. Aside from timers, new features like rain and moisture sensors will help you conserve water more.
  • Invest in a water tank for rainwater collection.
  • Adjust your sprinkler timer according to the climate.
  • Grow crops that will thrive with your yard’s soil type.
  • For small yards, use drip irrigation to minimize runoff.
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Preventive measures are also necessary. Check the integrity of your drip irrigation hoses. See if the water pressure gauge is normal. Make sure the wiring for your automated systems are in good condition and will not short circuit. Call a professional for major repair needs. There are services for home sprinkler repair in Salt Lake City and surrounding areas in Utah that you can call, they can provide you with stop & waste valves and prevent back flow. These additions will secure unobstructed flow and reduce waste.

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