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Digital library of water and agriculture information just a click away
by Joe Makuch, National Agricultural Library
(As originally submitted for publication in the Beltsville News July 2006.)

farmGo from Puget Sound to the Chesapeake Bay. Along the way, visit the Gulf of Mexico or the Great Lakes. Do it all from your computer.

There's a wealth of information available about these and other water bodies from an online publications database managed by the National Agricultural Library (NAL). The Library is located on Route 1 in Beltsville, but you can be nearly anywhere and get the information it

has on agriculture and water.

Why is an agricultural library concerned with water? Agricultural irrigation is a major use of water in the United States. And what is done in agriculture--like in other land uses—can have an effect on water quality.

NAL's Water Quality Information Center, where I work, helps people throughout the United States--and the world--get the information they need to solve water quality problems associated with agriculture. Information is a key ingredient of problem-solving, and there’s a lot of it available in agriculture and water quality. Many useful documents produced by state and federal agencies, extension services and other organizations involved with water issues are being published and freely distributed online.

NAL's Water Quality Information Center has brought together more than 1,800 links to these documents in a database on the center's Web site. While most of the documents cover water and agriculture, you can also find information on topics such as drinking water, urban runoff, and water pollution in general, in addition to information on specific water bodies such as the Chesapeake Bay. While designed for people working in the field of water resources, the database is also useful to students doing research and people who want additional information on water topics they have may have heard about in the news. For more information, NAL Water Quality Information Center.

If you would like information on water in agriculture or many other water quality subjects, visit the Water Quality Information Center Web site or contact the Information Center (301-504-6077 or by email). Tours and presentations about the NAL may be arranged through the public affairs office by calling 301-504-6778.
Last Modified: Oct 31, 2012
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