01/23/09 — NCDA sends water-usage surveys to farmers

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NCDA sends water-usage surveys to farmers

By From staff reports
Published in Sports on January 23, 2009 1:46 PM

RALEIGH -- Beginning this week, North Carolina farmers will have the opportunity to document agriculture-related water use through a survey issued by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

The Agricultural Statistics Division will begin the survey in response to legislation passed by the General Assembly last summer. The legislation requires the division to compile a yearly survey of water use by farms that withdraw 10,000 gallons of water per day from groundwater or surface water.

Farmers will be asked to complete a form documenting their agricultural water use for 2008. Information about individual farms will be kept confidential.

"This survey is extremely important because basic water use information for agriculture is limited in most areas of the state," said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. "We are encouraging farmers to participate so that we can collect good, accurate data about water conservation."

The General Assembly issued the survey legislation due in-part to public perception that farms use an excessive amount of water to preserve their crops during the summer months.

However, regional surveys have shown that agricultural water use is relatively small in comparison with industrial and other non-agricultural water consumption.

"The survey also will give us a good picture of how much water farmers need," said Troxler. "So that if we find ourselves in another drought, we can make the case for making sure farmers aren't unfairly targeted."

Survey forms began arriving in mailboxes in the past two weeks and results will be available by July 1.