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Decoupling Water Pollution from Agricultural Production

China’s water pollution is a source of concern across the country and potentially a key constraint on continued development and social progress. New guidelines released by the FAO discuss the key pressures and impacts from agricultural and rural activities in China, best management practices for limiting water pollution, regulatory actions to minimize pollution, and potential market-based mechanisms to finance these efforts.

The guidelines were designed in response to the realization that technologies alone is sufficient to prevent non-point source pollution from agriculture, but that the effectiveness of alternative actions will depend on education, training, and farm advisory services so that farmers, citizens, and managers and aware of the dangers posed by NPS pollution.  One important difference between this guide and similar guides on minimizing NPS in Western agricultural is that it focuses on aspects of farming peculiar to China and other South and Southeast Asian countries.  For example, rice paddy farming requires quite different water management and farming techniques than Western farming methods. In addition, the guide focuses on best management practices for farms where much of the labor is still done by inidicual laborers, similar to many of the areas in which the Water Initiative works, rather than BMPs for managing NPS in industrial scale farms.

The guidelines examine pollution from the following sources:

  • soil erosion and sedimentation,
  • fertilizers,
  • pesticides,
  • irrigation and drainage,
  • livestock and crop waste,
  • freshwater aquaculture,
  • agricultural villages and towns, and
  • reclaimed wastewater for agriculture.

For each type of pollution, the guide offers best practices and opportunities for management – focusing specifically on practices relevant in the Chinese and South Asian communities, as well as comprehensive listing of available resources and information.

The guide closes with an examination of how these management practices and lessons can be applied in other South Asian and Southeast Asian countries.

What does this guide offer to us? A fairly comprehensive summary of best management practices for addressing a variety of pollution practices, explanations of the biophysical sources of pollutants and the effects that they have on water and downstream communities, and an application of both of these topics in a less-developed context.

Read the whole guide here: http://www.fao.org/docrep/019/i3536e/i3536e.pdf

Community Update

Katoomba China – 1 month away

 

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We are now just one month away from Katoomba XVIII: Forests, Water, and People, which will take place in Beijing’s Olympic Village and will be hosted by Forest Trends, the Katoomba Group, and the Capital Greening Commission of Beijing. Co-hosts of the event are the Beijing Parks and Forestry Department of International Cooperation, the Beijing Forestry Society, and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

You can find the most up-to-date info on the event here or contact Gena Gammie for more details. Click the link below to see what info we have available now.

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