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You are here: Home / About WQIC / Working Group on Water Resources / Water Quality: A Report of Progress / Background  Printer Friendly Page
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Working Group on Water Resources

Water Quality: A Report of Progress

Published Sep 1997

Background

Principles:

  • The Nation's water resources must be protected from contamination by fertilizers and pesticides without jeopardizing the economic vitality of U.S. agriculture
  • Water quality programs must accommodate the immediate need to halt contamination and the future need to alter farm production practices
  • Ultimately, farmers must be responsible for changing production practices to avoid contaminating water resources

Goal:
Farmers and ranchers will have the knowledge, technical means, and financial assistance to respond independently and voluntarily in addressing farm-related environmental concerns and related State water quality requirements.

Objectives and related activities:
Three objectives were established to assist in reaching the goal. For each of these, a series of results-oriented activities were identified. While there is some obvious overlap, the activities are most closely related to the objectives in the following way(s).

Objective:
To determine the relationships between agricultural activities and water quality

Activities:

  • Develop methods for sampling, measuring, and evaluating groundwater contamination
  • Conduct research to provide the basis for improved management of chemicals used in agriculture
  • Improve agrichemical management and agricultural production systems
  • Evaluate the economic, social, technical and environmental impacts of new and improved management practices and systems

Objective:
To develop agricultural production systems that enhance or protect water quality

Activities:

  • Build National and State data bases on agrichemical use and related farm practices
  • Develop mathematical models to assist in State and Federal evaluation of alternative policies and program strategies
  • Improve agrichemical management and agricultural production systems
  • Evaluate the economic, social, technical and environmental impacts of improved management practices and systems

Objective:
To induce farmer's voluntary adoption of enhancement strategies at significant levels in problem areas

Activities:

  • Improve State and staff capacity to deliver assistance to producers for agrichemical and waste product management, and for environmental stewardship
  • Deliver technologies and management systems for voluntary adoption and implementation by farmers, ranchers, and foresters
  • Provide financial assistance to accelerate the installation of measures to improve water quality
  • Assist in meeting State water quality requirements through education and technical assistance
  • Inform the public of program activities and achievements
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has moved vigorously to reduce agricultural nonpoint sources of water impairments. USDA programs have aggressively encouraged farmers to develop and implement voluntary practices to reduce agricultural nonpoint source (NPS) pollution. The effort has resulted in dramatic reductions in the use of agricultural chemicals in designated project areas, without major decreases in crop yield levels, and in greatly reduced loadings to the environment.

Last Modified: Feb 25, 2011

 
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