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“Bridging the Gap’ with Water Management

Managing water is a unique thing, in really wet times we have to figure out how to best capture what we need and then release the rest while trying to figure out how to keep too much water from resulting in floods. in really dry times, how do we manage the lack or water or what water we have to utilize it as best we can.

This past week, I was asked to do a presentation for the Fayette County Extension webinar series on how to manage stormwater. Then on Saturday I saw an article in the Southwest Farm Press titled Efficient water management crucial to ‘bridge the gap’ . In this article, the author discusses how Matt Steinert, a farmer in Enid Oklahoma, uses different ways to manage the water he has available to produce crops. Some of these include using evapotransportation rates (ET), rotation cropping, and the use of conservation tillage (both strip and no-till). These different methods of understand water management has helped him and his father before him better manage the water they have available to grow crops.

In my opinion, management of water is not a right now thing, it is a yesterday thing or a tomorrow thing. What I mean and I like to think — to manage drought think about drought when it is wet and think about stormwater when it is dry. What I mean is managing water is a long term thing. When it is wet with plenty of water and you are having to deal with runoff and stormwater (both urban and rural), watch where that water naturally flows and accumulates to find the best place to install raingardens, stormwater basins or agricultural practices in the fields to stop and hold that water to reduce erosion and sedimentation. And when it is dry, install the raingardens (which can also be done when wet but make sure to contain runoff) in urban settings and in agricultural settings determine what is the best method to capture and manage the water when it comes. This can be through ponds or through practices such as conservation tillage (which is a long term process of building soil health, increasing root mass, and many other benefits), planning how to best conduct rotational grazing or crop rotation, or how to manage a farm using ET.

So, management of water is the gap we have to think about between dry and wet weather.