Soil and water

Drought

Temporary lack of soil moisture can be a problem for farmers but prolonged drought conditions can have far-reaching consequences for large regions in terms of economic hardship and environmental degradation.

For more information see:

  • Adapting dryland cropping systems for drought conditions, which provides additional recommendations in crop planning, utilization and fallow management to reduce the impacts of more severe drought conditions.
  • Drought Watch, which provides timely information about the impacts of climatic variability on water supply and agriculture and promotes practices that reduce drought vulnerability and improve management during a drought.

Excess soil moisture

Too much soil moisture can cause serious problems for farmers. This brochure discusses some of the challenges of managing wet soils and the beneficial management practices that can help meet them.

Water quality

There are a number of potential impacts that soil management practices may have on water quality. These include sediment loading, nutrient additions, pesticide pollution, and pathogen contamination.

For more information see:

  • Soil texture and water quality, which discusses the risk of contaminant movement into surface water bodies attached to eroding sediment or dissolved in runoff water and how the risks vary with soil texture.

Wetlands and riparian areas

Many wetlands and riparian areas occur within agricultural landscapes. Wetlands are low-lying areas where soil development is influenced by saturation with water and the dominant plant and animal communities are adapted to these conditions. The transitional zone between the wetland and the upland is called the riparian area which contains strips of moisture-loving vegetation. Wetlands and riparian areas are important as sources of protection for water, habitat for plants and animals, and can also provide sustainable forage for livestock.

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