What is in this article?:
• In the Southeast, the problem is not how much rainfall, rather how to manage the rain the area gets.
• Water quality issues used to drive water policy.
• Now, water quantity is becoming a key issue — much as it has been for many years in the western half of the country.
LONG-TERM, off-season projects as simple as redesign of a farm fish pond or enclosure of drainage areas for use as water catchment can become pivotal management decisions in future years for Southeastern growers.
Though too much water in the spring and summer may put other moisture issues at bay for a while this year, odds are good that even though the drought that has been officially killed by record-breaking May, June and July rainfall, it will be back.
What crops to plant, how to plant, and what role irrigation will play in future crop production are issues growers in the Southeast are going to have to pay more attention to in the future than they and their predecessors have in the past.
Cotton acreage is down this year in the region, but some who cut acreage to plant wheat in the fall and soybeans in the late spring are now re-thinking that decision.
Though based more on economics than environmental concern, growers are likely to find out the impacts of both too much and too little rainfall before both crops are in the bin.
Many areas of the country that were plagued by drought the past two years are now dealing with too much water.
In the Southeast, the problem is not how much rainfall, rather how to manage the rain the area gets, says North Carolina water expert Bill Holman.
Holman, who is Director of the North Carolina Conservation Fund, says water quality issues used to drive water policy. Now, he says water quantity is becoming a key issue — much as it has been for many years in the western half of the country.
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The drought year of 2003, started key players talking about water quantity issues. Then, the back to back drought years of 2007-2008 brought many of these issues to the forefront as states, and even cities and counties, wrangled over water rights.