Learn More: Water Management Animations
Explore the connections between agriculture and water and the various measures to protect and manage water:
Farm Surface Water Management
Obtaining good quality water from farm surface water sources is challenging. The key is protecting and enhancing the water source, and using a series of treatment processes. These treatment processes are called barriers: each barrier reduces specific water quality problems from being passed on in the water. This cover screen shows how a multiple barrier approach can be used on farm dugouts, to obtain high quality water for rural uses. The approach starts with managing the land effectively, aerating dugouts, and using a number of water treatment steps as described in the following sub-sections:
The approach could be used on other similar (or better quality) surface water sources. Each section offers the reader a choice between a textual description and an equivalent animation.
As an alternative to using these hyperlinks to navigate through the sections, you can also click on the following image. Doing so, will cause the image to enlarge and allow you to use the diagram as an Animation Controler to start the 6 different animations.
A word of caution: Each barrier must be properly designed, well-operated and regularly maintained. Multiple barriers, like a chain, are only as strong as their weakest link. If one barrier fails, the final water quality will deteriorate and may not be safe for its intended use.
View the animation related to Farm Surface Water Management - from source to tap.
1. Best Management Practices - Featuring Robocow
Robocow: Operation H2O is an animated video in which on-farm environmental perils are discovered and remedied by Robocow, the charismatic and enigmatic hero of the series. In Operation H2O Robocow identifies and corrects agricultural practices affecting surface water.
2. Dugout Aeration
Aeration is a management technique which enhances water quality in reservoirs. In Canada, farm ponds or dugouts are constructed in clay soils, and used to collect and store water from snow melt and rain. Roughly 3.5 to 6.0 m deep, dugouts typically store from 2 to 30 million Litres of water. In winter they are completely covered with ice (usually from November to March). In summer water in dugouts will stagnate. However, when dugouts are continuously aerated year round, water quality is improved. This animation shows an aerated reservoir beside an unaerated reservoir. The benefits of aeration are shown and described for each season of the year. As a water treatment barrier, aeration will keep the water fresher with less nutrient recycling from the bottom sediment.
Coagulation is a chemical process used to remove unwanted particles or matter in water. It is a very common barrier used in municipal water treatment. Coagulation can be used for farm water treatment. The coagulation animation describes the process and benefits of coagulation. Simple procedures are shown to determine the correct chemical dose. A simple method is depicted for treating dugouts and small storage cells. Coagulation treatment will improve water quality for many farm needs.
4. Filtration Systems
Improving water quality almost always involves some sort of filtration process. Filtration barriers remove larger particles from water, including those formed by coagulation. The animation shows small-scale filters used to treat surface water: rapid sand, rapid carbon, slow sand, and biological carbon filters. The process is shown for each type of filter, with simple explanations of the benefits, limitations, and basic operational requirements.
5. Disinfection Solutions
When high quality water is required, such as drinking water, household water or livestock watering, disinfection is an essential barrier. Disinfection kills disease-causing organisms. The disinfection animation shows why bacteria, parasites and viruses pass through the initial treatment barriers, and describes how chlorine or ultraviolet light may be used to kill these organisms. Disinfection is usually the last barrier in municipal water treatment. Continual water testing is always necessary to ensure the disinfection process is working effectively.
6. Polishing Methods
Small-scale water treatment systems for private rural water treatment are generally not managed by chemists, biologists, engineers and technologists, and the treated water quality is not frequently tested, as is the case for municipal supplies. Therefore for rural households, another water treatment polishing barrier is recommended after the initial pre-treatment processes. A polishing barrier will increase the safety of water used for human consumption. Two ideal polishing barriers are shown in the animation: reverse osmosis filtration and distillation. These processes are very effective in removing impurities that the pre-treatment barriers did not remove. A final note: Remember to operate and maintain every barrier, and be sure to test the final drinking water on a regular basis to ensure its safety for consumption.
Farm Well Water Management
Interactive animations teach you about farm water well management as they guide you through the construction, protection, maintenance and treatment of your water well. A step by step procedure for sealing and decommissioning old or abandoned wells is also outlined.
The Aquifer Connection - Featuring Robocow
Robocow, the animated environmental advocate is back for a second stint on the silver screen, ready to put more of her bovine bravado on display. But this time her celebrated and sensitive ground-scan radar is tuned into an even deeper dilemma - groundwater problems.
The Hydrologic Cycle
The Hydrologic Cycle explains the fate of water as it travels in and around the earth's surface. Every stage of the water cycle is revealed - from precipitation, runoff and infiltration to recharge, discharge and evaporation. The animation focuses on the movement of groundwater, further explaining the different types of aquifers, wells and sources of contamination.