How to Protect Water From Agricultural Pollution

Today’s industrial agriculture produces significant carbon emissions that contribute to climate change, but it also harms our precious water resources. Pesticide and fertiliser runoff is a significant cause of pollution in water sources, resulting in damaged biological conditions and the growth of toxic algae.

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Agricultural pollution has a damaging effect on livestock health, as well as surrounding communities and other local wildlife. It also reduces the availability of clean drinking water. It can also increase the amount of time it takes to disinfect drinking water and degrade soils.

The problem with agricultural pollution is a complex one, and there are a number of ways that farmers can help. Generally speaking, it comes from two kinds of sources: point and nonpoint. Point source pollutants can be traced to a specific location. Nonpoint source pollutants, however, tend to occur over a larger geographic area and are not as easy to identify or control.

Nonpoint source pollutants can take on a wide variety of forms, from runoff after harvesting and tilling to slurry spillages. They can also come from livestock feeding operations, poultry houses that ventilate to the air or from roads and farmyards.

The most common kinds of agricultural pollutants are sediments, nitrates and phosphorus. Find out more about Nutrient Management Planning by going to

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These are carried by erosion from cultivated fields to waterways. Sediment increases the turbidity of water, making it murkier and more difficult for fish and other aquatic life to find food. The nitrates and phosphorus in fertilisers can also be harmful by entering waterways in the form of excessive algae growth. This can deplete the oxygen in water to levels that are unhealthy for animals and humans.

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