How Water is Used in Agriculture

Water is essential for agriculture. It is used to irrigate crops, provide drinking water for livestock, and for many other purposes. However, water is a finite resource, and it is important to use it wisely. This blog will explore how water is used in agriculture, and ways to conserve it.

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Agriculture is a vital part of many cultures and provides food, feed, fiber, fuel, and many other products. It is also one of the largest users of water, accounting for nearly 70% of all freshwater withdrawals worldwide (see Figure 1). The majority of this water is used for irrigation, with approximately one-third used for livestock. In addition, large volumes of water are used in agricultural production processes, such as washing fruits and vegetables, or processing dairy and meat products.

Water use in agriculture can be divided into two main categories:
-Irrigation water: Water that is used to supplement or replace rainfall in order to grow crops. This includes both surface water (rivers, lakes, and streams) and groundwater (water from below the ground).
-Processing water: Water that is used in agricultural production processes, such as washing fruits and vegetables or processing dairy and meat products.

Figure 1: Freshwater withdrawals by sector in 2000 (percentages may not add up to 100 due to rounding)

Withdrawals Percent
Agriculture 69%
Industry 20%
Municipal 11%

Total: 100%

How water is used in agriculture

Water is used in agriculture for irrigation, crop production, livestock watering, and aquaculture. It is also used for agricultural purposes such as post-harvest handling, washing, and cooling of farm produce. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 70% of the world’s freshwater withdrawals are for agricultural uses.

For irrigation

Water is essential for the growth of crops and the irrigation of agricultural land. Many farmers use irrigation systems to ensure that their crops receive enough water. Some farmers use drip irrigation, which delivers water to the roots of plants through a system of tubes. Other farmers use sprinkler systems, which spray water over the entire field.

In order to irrigate their fields, farmers must have a source of water. Some farmers get their water from wells, while others get it from rivers or lakes. Once the water has been pumped into the field, it is distributed by the irrigation system.

After the crops have been watered, any excess water must be drained from the field. This drainage water can be reused for irrigation or it can be returned to the original source (such as a river or lake).

For livestock

Water is essential for all life, and that includes the animals we raise for food. It takes nearly 400 gallons of water to produce just 1 gallon of milk, so it’s important that farmers have a dependable water source to meet the needs of their livestock.

Livestock need water for drinking, of course, but they also use water for bathing and cooling off in hot weather. Water is mixed with animal feed, and it’s used in dairy farms to clean milking equipment.

Farmers also use irrigation to watering their crops. Crops need different amounts of water at different stages of growth, so farmers have to be careful not to over- or under-water their plants.

For crop production

Water is used in agriculture for crop production, livestock watering, and soil and water conservation. It is one of the most important inputs in agriculture.

Agricultural water withdrawals totaled about 351 billion gallons per day in 2010. This number excludes water used for livestock or aquaculture and water used for on-farm purposes such as washing down buildings or irrigating crop fields. The majority of agricultural withdrawals (68 percent) were used for irrigation. Livestock watering accounted for 22 percent of agricultural withdrawals, while 10 percent were used for other on-farm uses.

Of the total freshwater withdrawals in 2010, about 38 percent was used for agricultural purposes. In general, irrigation withdrawals make up the largest portion of total freshwater use—and of agricultural water use—globally and in the United States. In 2010, irrigation withdrawals totaled 245 billion gallons per day in the United States, which was equal to 69 percent of all freshwater withdrawals that year. Irrigation systems apply water to crops during periods of insufficient rainfall or when drought conditions exist

The benefits of using water in agriculture

Water is essential to plant growth, as it helps to transport nutrients and minerals to plants. It is also used to control pests and diseases.Water also helps to cool plants in hot weather.

Improved yields

Water is vital for agriculture as it is used in a number of different ways to improve yields. It helps to dissolve minerals and nutrients that plants need in order to grow, it regulates temperature and it helps to transport these vital nutrients around the plant. Without water, plants would quickly perish.

In addition to being used for irrigation, water is also used in agricultural processing. For example, it is commonly used in the washing and cleaning of crops before they are sold or consumed. This ensures that any harmful bacteria or contaminants are removed, making the food safer for people to eat.

Water is also used in livestock farming. Animals need water to drink in order to stay hydrated and healthy, and water is also used in the cleaning of their pens and living quarters. This helps to prevent the spread of disease and keeps the animals clean and comfortable.

Overall, water is essential for agriculture as it helps to improve yields, ensure food safety and keep animals healthy. Without water, farming would not be possible.

More resilient crops

One of the main benefits of using water in agriculture is that it helps crops to become more resilient. When plants are watered regularly, their roots grow deeper and stronger, making them better able to withstand periods of drought. Additionally, well-watered plants are less susceptible to disease and pests.

Better quality produce

Water is a fundamental element of agriculture. It is used to support plant growth, clean farmers’ equipment and buildings, and provide drinking water for farm animals. irrigation has played a crucial role in boosting agricultural production around the world. In fact, it is estimated that without irrigation, global food production would be diminished by as much as 50%.

There are many benefits to using water in agriculture. One benefit is that it helps to produce better quality crops. When crops are watered regularly, they tend to be larger and have a longer shelf life. Another benefit of using water in agriculture is that it helps to keep farmers’ equipment and buildings clean. This is important for food safety reasons. Finally, water is essential for the health of farm animals. Animals need water to stay hydrated and to cool down in hot weather.

While there are many benefits to using water in agriculture, there are also some challenges. One challenge is that irrigation can be expensive. In addition, irrigation can lead to water waste if farmers are not careful. Finally, irrigation can have a negative impact on the environment if it is not managed properly.

The challenges of using water in agriculture

Water is essential for all forms of life, but it is a finite resource. This means that we need to be careful about how we use it. In agriculture, water is used for irrigation, to keep livestock hydrated, and to wash down agricultural equipment. With the world’s population growing, the demand for food is increasing. This means that more water is being used in agriculture.

water shortages

Water shortages are one of the biggest challenges facing agriculture today. With a growing population and changing climate, the demand for water is only going to increase.

Agriculture is a major user of water, accounting for around 70% of all human water use. In many countries, it is the single largest user of water. With such a high demand, it is not surprising that agriculture is often the first sector to be affected by water shortages.

There are many ways to reduce the water used in agriculture. One is to improve irrigation efficiency. This can be done by using more efficient irrigation methods, such as drip irrigation, or by using weather-based irrigation controllers that adjust irrigation according to local conditions.

Water shortages will continue to be a challenge for agriculture in the future. However, with careful planning and management, it is possible to minimize their impact and ensure that agriculture can continue to thrive in the face of this challenge.


Droughts are periods of below-average precipitation in a given region, resulting in prolonged shortages in the water supply. Droughts can last for months or even years, and often result in severe economic and social disruption.

In agriculture, droughts can cause crop failure, livestock death, and increases in food prices. Droughts also lead to water shortages, which can cause problems for industry and city residents who depend on water for drinking, bathing, and other uses.

Droughts are a natural hazard that has affected societies throughout history. In recent years, droughts have become more frequent and more intense due to climate change. As the world warms, evaporation rates increase and precipitation patterns change, leading to drier conditions in many areas. These changes make droughts more likely to occur, and more severe when they do occur.

To adapt to the increasing risk of drought, farmers are using a variety of strategies including irrigation improvements, crop diversification, and changes in farming practices. Governments are also working to improve drought forecasting and mitigation efforts. However, adaptation is only part of the solution – reducing greenhouse gas emissions is essential to prevent further climate change and the associated increase in drought risk.

water pollution

Water pollution from agriculture is one of the leading causes of water degradation worldwide. The main sources of agriculture-related water pollution are:
-fertilizers and pesticides
-animal waste

All of these sources can lead to the contamination of surface and groundwater resources, which can in turn impact human health, ecosystem health, and water quality.


Water is an essential resource for all life on Earth. In agriculture, water is used for irrigation, frost protection, livestock watering, and crop production. It is also used in food processing, washing, and transportation.

In the United States, agriculture accounts for about 80% of the fresh water used each year. With a growing world population and changing diets, demand for water for agriculture is expected to increase. Improving water efficiency in agriculture will be critical to meeting this demand while protecting our limited water resources.

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