Water specialist encourages farmers to invest in water monitoring

A water specialist says farmers need to take water use monitoring into their own hands ahead of a future conflict.

Hydrogeologic consultant Todd Feenstra with Midwest Water Stewards works with farmers in the Eastern Corn Belt to help monitor irrigation use.

“We need that data, we need to verify the models, there definitely is a crisis coming,” he says.

He tells Brownfield in Michigan a water withdrawal assessment was created in 2009 to evaluate impacts of large water withdrawals, but unfortunately, it has come with limited data collection.

“We are just encouraging growers that use water to be prepared, measure their impact, and be able to talk definitively about what your impact is and how matches or doesn’t match what the model is predicting,” he recommends.

Feenstra’s starting to see water use being restricted or denied because the model, he says, has continued to predict larger environmental impacts, but data from 200 wells on the farms he works with tells a different story.

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