NCDA&CS undertaking survey of ag water use
North Carolina farmers will have the opportunity to document agricultural water use through a survey by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
The NCDA&CS Agricultural Statistics Division will begin the survey in January 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 farmers who withdraw 10,000 gallons of water per day from groundwater or surface water. The survey will document agricultural water use for 2008. Information about individual farms will be kept confidential.
“This survey is critical because basic water use information for agriculture is limited in most areas of the state,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “We are encouraging participation because we need good, accurate data.”
Herb Vanderberry, director of the Agricultural Statistics Division, said public perception has been that farmers use an excessive amount of water. But other regional surveys have shown that agricultural water use is relatively small in comparison with industrial and other non-agricultural water consumption.
Troxler said the survey can clear up a lot of misperceptions about how much water farmers use. “The survey also will give us a good picture of how much water farmers need, so that if we find ourselves in another drought, we can make the case for making sure farmers aren’t unfairly targeted,” he said.
Survey forms will begin arriving in mailboxes in January, and results should be ready by July 1. Information about the survey is online at http://www.ncagr.gov/water.