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Tufts OpenCourseware
Authors: Kathleen Merrigan, Ph.D., William Lockeretz, Ph.D.


Sustainable Agriculture Systems. Chap. 2( part): Water Relationship in a sustainable agriculture system. E.John Sadler and Neil C Turner. (1994)

Drought follows the Plow: Cultivating Marginal Areas. Drought, desertification and food production. Michael H Glantz (1994)

Soils in Our Environment. Chap. 15: Water resources and irrigation, pp. 450-478. Raymond Miller and Duane Gardiner. (2001).

Key Questions

Water Relationship in a Sustainable Agriculture System

  • What is the role of water in agriculture?
  • What are the commonly practiced water conservation measures in agriculture?
  • What are the purposes of fallowing?

Drought follows the plow – cultivating marginal areas

  • What is the relationship between drought and desertification?
  • There is a close link between inappropriate land use practices and occurrence of drought / desertification. What factors lead to inappropriate land use practices?
  • Describe the influence of technology on drought and desertification.

Water Resources and Irrigation

  • What is the proportion of the water requirement in the US that is met from surface water and ground water sources, respectively?
  • What are the factors that influence ground water recharge?
  • What is the importance of intermediate vadose zone?
  • How are SAR and EC important in relation to water infiltration into soils?
  • What are some of the important factors to be considered while planning irrigation?
  • Under what kind of soils is the proportion of the available water the highest?

Supplementary Reading

What is drought? Understanding and defining drought