Agricultural Use of Water? 5 Ways to Reduce Water Usage in it

The agricultural industry is one of the biggest users of water in the world. In the United States alone, agriculture accounts for 80% of the country’s water usage. With such a high demand for water, it’s no surprise that the agricultural industry has come under scrutiny in recent years for its water usage.

There are a number of factors that contribute to the high water usage in agriculture. In this article, we will look into this topic in-depth regarding agricultural use of water, and furthermore what can be done to reduce water usage in industries.

agricultural use of water

Agricultural Use of Water – Types of Agricultural Water Use

Agriculture is the backbone of many economies worldwide, and the water supply is crucial to the success of the agricultural sector. Farmers use water to irrigate crops, grow fodder for livestock, and provide drinking water for animals.

Water is also used in aquaculture to grow fish, shrimp, and other aquatic animals. However, water is a scarce resource, and its availability is often limited, especially in arid and semi-arid regions.

There are three main types of agricultural water use:

1. Irrigation

Irrigation is the application of water to crops to supplement natural rainfall. Irrigation systems vary in size and complexity, from small-scale, manual systems to large-scale, automated systems. Irrigation can be either surface or sub-surface.

2. Livestock watering

Water is essential for the health and productivity of livestock. Livestock watering systems range from simple watering troughs to more complex systems, such as automatic watering systems.

3. Aquaculture

Water is also used in aquaculture to grow fish, shrimp, and other aquatic animals. Aquaculture systems range from simple, small-scale ponds to large-scale, intensive systems.

Challenges of Agricultural Water Use

The agricultural sector faces many challenges when it comes to water use, including:

Water scarcity

Water scarcity is a significant challenge for the agricultural sector. In many regions, water resources are limited, and competition for water resources is increasing.

Climate change

Climate change is expected to have a significant impact on the agricultural sector. Changes in rainfall patterns and increased temperatures could reduce crop yields and increase water demand.

Water pollution

Water pollution is a significant problem in many agricultural regions. Agricultural runoff can contain nutrients, pesticides, and other pollutants that can harm aquatic ecosystems and human health.

Sustainable Agricultural Water Use

To ensure the sustainability of agricultural water use, it is essential to manage water resources carefully. Sustainable agricultural water use involves using water efficiently, reducing water pollution, and managing water resources to meet the needs of the agricultural sector while protecting the environment.

Water-efficient irrigation

Water-efficient irrigation systems can help farmers reduce water use and increase crop yields. Techniques such as drip irrigation, which delivers water directly to plant roots, can reduce water waste and increase crop yields.

Water conservation

Water conservation practices, such as rainwater harvesting and water reuse, can help farmers reduce their water use and protect water resources.

Soil conservation

Soil conservation practices, such as no-till farming and cover cropping, can help farmers reduce soil erosion and improve soil health. Healthy soil can absorb and retain water more efficiently, reducing the need for irrigation.

10 Agricultural Use of Water

Water is essential for all life, and agriculture is no exception. Crops and livestock need water to survive and produce food for humans and animals.

  • In fact, agriculture accounts for 70% of the world’s freshwater use.
  • In the USA, agriculture accounts for approximately 80% of the nation’s water use. This includes irrigation, which is the biggest use of water in agriculture.
  • Other agricultural uses include drinking water for livestock, washing down barns and equipment, and growing crops in greenhouses or hydroponic systems.

Here are the most used cases of water in agriculture.

  1. Irrigation
  2. Drainage
  3. 3. Frost protection
  4. Livestock watering
  5. Crop production
  6. Soil preparation
  7. Fertilizer and pesticide application
  8. Harvesting
  9. Post-harvest processing
  10. Aquaculture

Agricultural use of water is a vital part of food production. Without it, crops would wither and die. However, agricultural water use can also have a negative impact on the environment. It can lead to water pollution and depletion of groundwater reserves.

Therefore, it is important to carefully manage agricultural water use in order to protect our natural resources. Agricultural water use is a contentious issue because it is essential for food production but depletes water resources.

Farmers have been using irrigation to increase crop yields for centuries, but the technology and methods have become more sophisticated and expensive as the demand for water has increased.

percentages of agricultural use of water

Agriculture is the largest user of water globally, accounting for about 70% of all freshwater withdrawals. According to the United States Geological Survey, agricultural use of water accounts for approximately 80% of the nation’s total water consumption.

This includes irrigation, which is by far the largest use of water for agriculture. In 2005, it was estimated that nearly half of the freshwater used in the United States was for irrigation (USGS, 2012).

While irrigation is vital for crop production, it is also one of the most inefficient uses of water. It is estimated that only 50-60% of the water applied to crops is actually used by plants; the rest is lost through evaporation or runoff (EPA, 2011). Improving irrigation efficiency is therefore a key goal for sustainable agriculture.

There are many different types of irrigation systems, and each has its own efficiency rating.

  • The most efficient type of system is drip irrigation, which can have an efficiency rate as high as 90%.
  • Other common types of irrigation include flood and sprinkler systems; both have relatively low-efficiency rates (60% and 75%, respectively) (EPA, 2011).

How to reduce agricultural use of water

Water is a vital resource for agriculture, and farmers need to be careful about how they use it. There are a number of ways to reduce the amount of water used in agriculture, and here are some of the most effective methods:

  1. Crop rotation can help to reduce water usage, as different crops will have different watering requirements. This means that farmers can plan their irrigation around the crop’s needs, rather than using the same amount of water for all crops.
  2. Mulching can also help reduce soil evaporation, meaning less water is needed to maintain moisture levels. Cover crops are planted between cash crops (such as corn or soybeans) and help hold moisture in the soil while preventing erosion.
  3. Drip irrigation is a highly efficient way of watering crops, as it delivers water directly to the roots where it is needed most. This reduces wastage and ensures that plants get the moisture they need without using excess water.
    • Micro-sprinklers are also very efficient because they apply water only where it is needed – on the leaves and stems of plants – rather than wetting the whole field.
  4. Drought-resistant crops can also help to reduce water usage, as these plants are more adapted to dry conditions and require less watering.
  5. Careful planning and management of irrigation systems can help to ensure that water is used efficiently and only when necessary. This includes regular maintenance of equipment, monitoring of weather conditions, and using the most appropriate type of irrigation for the crop being grown.

These are some effective suggestions by following these water usage in agriculture can be reduced significantly.

Video: Agricultural Use of Water


There are many sectors in agriculture where water is used massively.

  • One of them is crop production, crops need water to grow.
  • Another is that animals raised for food need water to drink.
  • And then there are all of the other processes involved in farming, such as washing and transporting products.

While the agricultural industry does have a high demand for water, there are ways to reduce water usage.

  • Some farmers are using irrigation systems that are more efficient with water.
  • Others are growing drought-resistant crops.
  • And some companies are even recycling wastewater to use on their farms.

It is important to remember that agricultural water use is a vital part of maintaining our food supply. While it is also important to be efficient with this precious resource, we must also be careful not to overuse it and put our food supply at risk.

If you’re concerned about the agricultural industry’s impact on the environment, there are ways you can help. You can support companies that are working to reduce their water usage. You can also buy products from farmers who use sustainable practices.


  • What agriculture uses the most water?

    Within the agricultural sector, irrigation is the main driver of water use. The specific crops that use the most water can vary by region and climate, but some of the most water-intensive crops include rice, wheat, and corn.
    These crops are often grown in areas with high levels of evapotranspiration, which means they require a lot of water to grow and produce.
    Other water-intensive crops include alfalfa, cotton, and sugarcane. It’s important to note that the amount of water used in agriculture can be reduced through the use of more efficient irrigation techniques and drought-resistant crop varieties.

  • How much water is used for agricultural purposes?

    Agriculture is the largest user of water globally, accounting for about 70% of all freshwater withdrawals.

  • What are the 5 uses of water in agriculture?

    The five main uses of water in agriculture are:
    1. Agricultural irrigation
    2. Industrial processing
    3. Domestic use (e.g. drinking, cooking, bathing)
    4. Environmental uses (e.g. maintaining ecosystems)
    5. Recreational use (e.g. swimming, boating)