Mobile Labs Help Florida Agriculture Save Billions of Gallons of Water
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam today announced that Florida agriculture operations saved more than 12 billion gallons of water in the last fiscal year through the Mobile Irrigation Lab (MIL) program, which provides free irrigation system evaluations and on-site education to help producers improve irrigation efficiency.
“Florida agriculture is increasing water conservation and productivity with the help of the Mobile Irrigation Lab program’s modern technology and techniques,” stated Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “Only through increased efficiency and conservation can the needs of Florida’s diverse water users be met — and Florida agriculture is doing its part.”
Underscoring the importance of increased water conservation, water supply plans developed by Florida’s water management districts, in cooperation with Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, indicate a 1.3 billion gallon per day shortfall of water by 2030.
The Mobile Irrigation Lab program is a partnership between the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and local water management districts. Between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015, the MIL program conducted more than 1,000 evaluations that resulted in the conservation of an additional 1.2 billion gallons of water, bringing the program’s estimated annual water savings to more than 12 billion gallons.
These services are free-of-charge and provide site-specific expertise in analyzing irrigation systems and educating property owners on how to improve water conservation and use. The department and partners provide recommendations for improvements to the existing irrigation systems and equipment, and educates consumers on water conservation, irrigation planning, and irrigation management.
Although the MIL program originally targeted agricultural water use, it also assists residential and commercial water users. Landscapes, nurseries, and golf courses have benefited greatly from the services provided by the MIL program.
In addition to providing recommendations on irrigation system improvements, the department also assists farmers and ranchers by identifying water quality improvement opportunities available through Best Management Practices (BMPs). More than 9 million acres of Florida farms and ranches are enrolled in the BMP program. As a result of these efforts and the cooperation of industry, Florida agriculture is using water more efficiently, at the same time, increasing productivity.
For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Mobile Irrigation Labs or Best Management Practices, visit FreshFromFlorida.com.