UNL hosts drought convention - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

UNL hosts drought convention

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By: Sabrina Ahmed 
SAhmed@klkntv.com

Last year was the hottest and driest year the state has on record, so how do we conserve water?

"70 percent of water in the world is used by agriculture, so efficient use of water in agriculture is key," Benedito Braga, President of the World Water Council, said.

What the world needs is to start storing water, or else we will be hurting down the road.  That can be done with wells, dams, or reservoirs.  All of these options need infrastructure, and that costs money.

"The technology for building is there, the awareness of the governments on the impacts of the infrastructures is there, so it's just finding the dollars to do it," Braga said.

Braga isn't the only person to talk about needing funding to help the world advance agriculturally.  At the water for food conference, where the central theme is "Too wet, too hot, too dry", Sally Mackenzie of UNL talked about breeding crops differently, making plants that grow with less water.  But the only way to make that work is with federal funding.

"This is a challenging time, which I think scientists always love right, but the course of these challenges come at the same time that our federal agencies for funding at their tightest," Mackenzie said.

While these scientists and agriculturists have their work cut out for them, not only to improve the situation in Nebraska, but also globally, one speaker said we've already seen great strides.

"If you look at this last year compared to the 50s or 30s, it's remarkable the production levels that we did have, even though it was the hottest and driest year on record in this part of the us," Ronnie Green, Vice Chancellor of IANR said.

He said more precise irrigation in Nebraska, and soil moisture studies of farms across the state, show things could be a lot worse.

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