Water Management on Horse Farms During Drought

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Credit: Thinkstock When water is at a premium, taking a little time to ensure there is little to no wastage can go a long ways to conservation.

Credit: Thinkstock When water is at a premium, taking a little time to ensure there is little to no wastage can go a long ways to conservation.

Some parts of the country are still in severe drought despite the heavy rains that hit some portions of the country this spring. When water is at a premium, taking a little time to ensure there is little to no wastage can go a long ways to conservation.

Here’s a checklist of what you can do to preserve your water resources:

  • Check all your hoses, faucets and fittings for leakage, and fix where appropriate.
  • If using sprinklers, position them to rain over the plants rather than extraneous areas such as roads, ditches, etc.
  • Water early in the day to minimize evaporative losses as the weather warms up.
  • Water for longer durations, but keep longer intervals between watering; this will encourage root growth.
  • Soil amendments can enhance water-retention properties.
  • Mulch (when appropriate) further reduces evaporative losses.
  • Eliminate weeds as they tend to compete with grasses for water and nutrients.
  • Tops of water tanks can be covered halfway to reduce evaporative losses.
  • Check water sources--water tanks, creeks, ditches, and ponds--making sure that they are palatable and free of algae and debris. Treat standing water against mosquito larvae using mosquito dunks or crumbles.
  • Collect rainwater from gutters and runoff if allowable in your state.
  • Refrain from giving the horses baths.

By using common sense, you can use your water resources most effectively for managing your horses and your pastures.