What Sometimes Occurs When Reclaimed Water is Used in Agriculture?

What is Agriculture, and Why is it important? What is Tilling? How is it harmful to Soil and the Environment? What is Reclaimed Water? What is Climate-Friendly Farming and its Purpose?

When humans learned to farm, the first crops they cultivated were barley and wheat, as per research. Also, they mentioned that lentils have been a prominent crop, which is also among the oldest crops in the world. So, while we are on the topic of agriculture, can anyone tell me the purpose of the climate friendly farming project? Do you know about reclaimed water, and what sometimes occurs when reclaimed water is used in agriculture? Have you heard about tillage, and how can the practice of tillage be harmful to the overall environment? If not, there’s nothing to worry about, we will discuss all these points here in detail.

1. What is Agriculture?

Agriculture is the science or practice of farming, cultivating the soil, and growing crops. For example, a crop of mustard generates oil, seeds, etc. It includes rearing animals to produce wool, meat, food, eggs, etc., and selling them to earn their livelihood. It may also involve the practice of ranching. Also, rearing livestock like sheep, cows, etc. produces wool and milk that is sold. (See What are the Uses of Soil?)

2. Why is Agriculture Important?

Agriculture may seem a simple task, but it is the occupation of a major part of the population in the world. Many under-developed and developing countries still have agriculture as their sole provider for other sectors of production. Agriculture is important because:

  • It supports the economy of a country.
  • It gives job opportunities.
  • It is the producer of food and raw materials for humans and animals.
  • It is important to improve international trade relations among countries.
  • It generates a large part of the national revenue for developing countries.
  • The economic development of a country depends on the health of the agriculture sector.
  • It helps in healing the environment and maintaining balance.

3. What is Tillage?

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Are you looking for what sometimes occurs when reclaimed water is used in agriculture? Before that let’s learn what is tillage.

The process of preparing the soil before planting the crops and cultivating the soil after planting the crops is known as tillage. It means manipulating the soil to bring it into the desired state. Tilling is done through mechanical methods along with mechanical tools to give some more effect to the soil. These effects include cutting, movement, or pulverization. Also, check out what is environmental manipulation of crops?

4. How can the Practice of Tillage be Harmful to the Overall Environment?

Tillage may be a way to bring soil to the desired state before planting the crops, but it is harming the soil in the long run. Take a look at the following points. Tilling is harmful to the overall environment because

  • Tilling makes the soil lose its moisture content to a large amount which enhances the soil to get washed away during floods leading to soil erosion.
  • The structure of the soil is lost making it hard for crops to grow.
  • Fertility of soil is also lost leading to a drought-like land that cannot grow any crop.
  • The soil gets dependent on herbicides to replenish its natural nutrient content.
  • Low plant growth due to poor and weak soil structure leads to a drastically affected climate.
  • The environment is affected the most because plants and agriculture are the main regulators of the precipitation and water cycle. 
  • Weak and dry soil is hard to hold and that makes soil erosion easy.

All these factors will lead to lower plant growth which will disrupt the water cycle ultimately disturbing the environment as a whole. Farmers will be affected and this will harm the entire economy of the country. (See What are Factors affecting Soil Weathering?)

5. What is Reclaimed Water?

The process of converting the sewage (municipal wastewater) and industrial wastewater into water to be used for a variety of purposes is termed as reclamation of water and the water thus obtained is the reclaimed water. Reclaimed water is water that is used several times before being disposed of back into the natural cycle. This water is treated by different methods and the treatment depends on the source of the water. What sometimes occurs when reclaimed water is used in agriculture is just around the corner, keep reading. Also, check out what is the main source of water?

6. What sometimes occurs When Reclaimed Water is used in Agriculture?

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Recycling wastewater can be beneficial for various purposes, but it poses a great risk to crops and agriculture at large. They pose a threat due to the viruses that are passed from this water. This can be further dangerous for humans and animals because we are the ultimate consumers of these crops. Take a look at the brief description of what sometimes occurs when reclaimed water is used in agriculture:

A. Cause Damage to the Environment

Wastewater is transformed to be used as reclaimed water by different procedures. These procedures add different substances to the water to improve its quality and remove pathogens. All this is to make the water safe for use. However, the high concentrations of these substances can make them toxic for plants and lead to environmental damage as a whole.

B. Cause Harm to Groundwater

Crops mostly do not absorb all the water that is used during irrigation and a good amount of that water gets absorbed by the soil. This water reaches the underground water and helps in replenishing the underground water levels. But reclaimed water contains heavy metals, organic matter, and other nitrates which are potentially harmful to the groundwater. It can ruin its quality. Also, check out what are the uses of water in our daily life?

C. Cause Damage to Soil

Water is considered a boon for crops and soil. It keeps the soil moist, which is beneficial for a healthy crop. But what sometimes occurs when reclaimed water is used in agriculture is that the quality of soil can be ruined and its fertility can be damaged by using reclaimed water for irrigation. The presence of metals in higher concentrations can lead to the acidification of soil

D. Cause Damage to Crops

To grow a healthy batch of crops that are disease free and nutritious, a farmer needs to provide the crops with necessary nutrients, naturally or artificially. Water helps the crops in absorbing the nutrients from the soil. But reclaimed water lacks potential nutrients and has high concentrations of metals. This can result in the premature death of the crops and if the crops survive, they can become a source of pathogens for their consumers. 

E. Cause Harm to Animals and Human Health

Crops are consumed by humans and the fodder from these crops is fed to the livestock. Also, some animals feed on vegetables and fruits too. Agriculture is the primary supplier of food for all the consumers in the food chain. Even carnivores depend on crops for their food because herbivores eat crops, and they eat herbivores. But the use of reclaimed water damages the crops and even makes them poisonous to consume.

What sometimes occurs when reclaimed water is used in agriculture is that it is harmful to animals and humans both. All the consumers in the food chain are at risk of potential health diseases due to the pathogens passed from the reclaimed water to crops and then to the consumers. (See How do Animals cause Erosion?)

7. What is Climate-Friendly Farming?

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Now that we know about what sometimes occurs when reclaimed water is used in agriculture, let us learn about what is climate-friendly farming. The agricultural practice that aims at reducing the emission of greenhouse gases and harmful nutrients in the soil and plants are known as climate-friendly farming. Agriculture is an important contributor to extreme climatic changes and these practices help in regulating the climate. For example, implementing such farming techniques can help the crops to absorb carbon from the air and store it in the soil. (See What are some Plants that prevent Soil Erosion?

8. What is the Purpose of the Climate Friendly Farming Project?

Are you aware of the fact that agriculture contributes to the emission of greenhouse gases by more than 25%? This is because of the storage of methane and other harmful ingredients in the soil that comes from pesticides and insecticides. All this causes drastic changes in the environment that lead to climatic disasters like floods, storms, droughts, etc. Centre for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Farming started the Climate Friendly Farming Project to reduce the emission of these greenhouse gases. Therefore, the main purpose of the climate friendly farming project is

  • To improve climatic conditions,
  • To increase the potentiality of the agricultural sector,
  • To protect and preserve nature,
  • To improve the quality of crops, and
  • To reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.

Countries must consider the purpose of the climate friendly farming project and incorporate these techniques into the agricultural sector. How can the practice of tillage be harmful to the overall environment at large is a matter of concern for everyone. Also, after knowing about what sometimes occurs when reclaimed water is used in agriculture, it would be better not to use it for irrigation purposes. (See What Do Botanists Do?

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