Conservation benefits water quality
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Gardening season is in full swing, and rain barrels are displayed for sale in local gardening stores. Rain barrels are systems that collect rainwater that would otherwise be lost into city sewers. The rainwater can be used to keep tomatoes, herbs and other treasured garden plants flourishing.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 40 percent of total household water use during the summer is for lawn and garden watering. Rain barrels are easy ways to both conserve water and cut your water bill.
In that same way, farmers use tailwater recovery systems to collect water for irrigating crops. Tailwater recovery systems are essentially giant barrels that collect not only rainwater, but also irrigation water that drains from agriculture fields. A network of ditches adjacent to agriculture fields captures the water as it runs off. The ditches may also direct water into a storage or holding pond.
Drainage of fields is necessary for crop production, and tailwater recovery systems promote both drainage and conservation. When farmers need to irrigate, they can pump captured water rather than water from groundwater wells.