Lara Keel Texas Lobbyist News: A&M Study on Texas Irrigation and Agriculture
The following is a digest of an article that originally appeared at the Texas A&M website. Lara Keel is posting this summary as a public service for interested Texans, Texas politicians, Texas political consultants, Texas lobbyists, and other interested persons.
Texas A&M research center has published a fascinating Agricultural study compilation, partnering with the “Texas Water Resources Institute”. Agriculture is the root of all of our food production. It can be easy to forget this in the world of processed and packaged foods, but it’s a simple truth. It takes a great deal of water to care for crops. The article takes after it’s title, noting “status and trends” in Texas’s agricultural world. These statistics give us a good look at how we use our water in food production, and what this means for the present and future.
“The state’s irrigated acres are concentrated in those areas having both productive soils and available water. Most agricultural irrigation is in West and South Texas, far from the state’s major urban centers in Central, North, and Southeast Texas. Annual estimated water use in Texas totaled 16.2 million acre-feet in 2009, with about 57% used for agricultural irrigation (TWDB 2012). Total annual irrigation water use has remained steady, averaging approximately 9.5 million acre-feet, since the late 1970s. On a per acre basis, the rate of irrigation application in Texas has averaged less than 18 inches annually since the 1950s. Although these rates vary by region and crop, on a statewide basis agricultural irrigation rates are comparable to or less than the rate of application by homeowners. “
One out of every four harvested cropland acres is irrigated. Texas, as of 2008, had 6.17 million irrigated acres. This adds up to over 10% of the entire country’s irrigated acres. It’s important that in a quickly growing state with a limited amount of water that water use is regulated, and part of every person’s mindset. There will not always be enough local aquifer and spring sourced water to provide for Texas’s growing population. A huge issue is lawn watering, which accounts for the bulk of where our water goes. These days, drought is a semi-annual condition. It’s time people start being mindful of their water use, and looking to the future so we can continue to have plentiful food and water.
Click here to read the original report.