By Jamie Rieger
In the winter, we complain about the cold and snow..and all the shoveling. In the summer, we whine about the heat, the weeds, and all the mowing that needs to be done.
This summer, however, a lot of people have a right to voice their beefs, especially those who are in dryland country and have watched their crops dwindle down to near nothing and their grazing pastures providing little nourishment for their cattle.
People are looking to the friendly skies in hopes the rain will soon fall (without the lightning, of course), but for some crops any rain now is already too late.
Cattle are being moved from grazing pastures to crop fields and many are being sold off at a time when many producers were attempting to build up their herds.
To say things weatherwise have been frustrating in the agriculture industry may be an understatement, but all farmers and ranchers are well aware that in southern Alberta, they must have Drought Management plans in place to minimize the drought damage the best they can. And, most do have sufficient plans.
After several years of above-average conditions and good to excellent crops being harvested, a drought was almost inevitable. We all knew there would be one eventually. Just how damaging this one is remains to be seen.
Water conservation is something those in the agriculture business practice every day in preparation for the inevitable and something all people should be putting into practice. Why what for a drought to conserve our household water usage?
Water your lawns during early morning or evening hours to reduce evaporation. Capturing rainwater (when the rain does fall) and using it for our lawns and gardens helps. Edmonton has (or had) a Rain Barrel Project that encouraged people to decrease their use of potable water, decrease their energy consumption, decrease the flow into waste-water treatment facilities, and offered up a host of other benefits.
There are many ways we all can do our part to conserve one of our most vital resources and we should put these things to practice even when we are not going through a dry spell. Once we start being conscious of our own water consumption and look for ways that best work for each one of us, then we can put those ways to good use. And, after time, these things will become habit.
The farmers and ranchers had this figured out long, long ago. Now, it is time for the rest of us to do our part when it comes to water conservation.