Integrated water resources management: a case study of on-farm water use for potato processing.

Bosak, V.K., VanderZaag, A.C., Crolla, A., Kinsley, C., and Gordon, R.H.J. (2016). "Integrated water resources management: a case study of on-farm water use for potato processing.", Water Practice and Technology, 11(1), pp. 66-74. doi : 10.2166/wpt.2016.008  Access to full text

Abstract

Integrated water resources management (IWRM) is described as a holistic approach to manage water efficiently, equitably, and sustainably. This paper presents a case study where cooperative strategy building among diverse stakeholders (researchers, potato farmers, and government regulators) resulted in significant water conservation for the on-farm washing of potatoes on a large potato operation (31% reduction per unit of potatoes sold). Water was reduced by applying modified IWRM methods, including (i) goal setting, where common goals with all three parties were outlined; (ii) initial assessment, where farm water use was monitored in detail for one year; (iii) cooperative strategy building, where monitoring results were presented and potential water-use reduction strategies were brainstormed; (iv) implementation, where strategies were put into place on the farm; and (v) final assessment, where water use was monitored for a second year, after conservation strategies were in place, and the efficacy of the strategies was determined. This case study demonstrates the value of IWRM, through cooperation among researchers, farmers, and the regulators, for improving water management in agriculture.

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