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Drought raising rural water concerns

Posted Aug. 1, 2012

The lack of rain and continuing drought in Iowa is now raising concerns about water usage by farmers and livestock producers.

 

The Iowa Pork Producers Association has learned of at least one rural water association that has notified customers, including at least one hog operation, that water usage must be curtailed by 35 percent.

 

IPPA has contacted the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to voice concerns about the water situation and the need for pork producers to continue to have ample access to water for livestock.

 

The DNR has been studying the issue since last fall and is closely monitoring the water situation in the state.

 

The Iowa Code addresses water restrictions in prolonged droughts and includes a “priority allocation plan.” The DNR may suspend or restrict water usage by category of use on a local or statewide basis in the following order:

 

  1. Water conveyed across state boundaries
  2. Uses of water primarily for recreational or aesthetic purposes
  3. Uses of water for the irrigation of hay, corn, soybeans, oats, grain, sorghum or wheat
  4. Uses of water for the irrigation of cropsotherthan hay, corn, soybeans, oats, grain, sorghum or wheat
  5. Uses of water for manufacturing or other industrial processes
  6. Uses of water for generation of electrical power for public consumption
  7. Uses of water for livestock production
  8. Uses of water for human consumption and sanitation supplied by rural water districts, municipal water systems, or other public water supplies
  9. Uses of water for human consumption and sanitation supplied by a private water supply

 

With the continuing drought now threatening water availability in many areas of the country, on-farm conservation is becoming increasingly important. See drought management for additional information.

 

IPPA will continue to try to protect the interests of pork producers through what state climatologist Harry Hillaker now calls the worst drought in Iowa since 1936.

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