South Georgia campers learn how farmers use water -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Georgia campers learn how farmers use water

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South Georgia agricultural scientists are doing cutting edge research that helps farmers get better crop yields while using less water.

Today, some young south Georgians got a look at that work as part of the 4-H2O summer camp.

The Stripling Irrigation Research Park welcomed the 4-H2O campers today to teach them how water is used for farming in their area and why.

Campers are learning about earth's most precious resource...water through hands-on science activities at the University of Georgia's C-M Stripling Irrigation Research Park in Mitchell County.

"Our research is centered on how to apply water more efficiently, how to get the most use out of any irrigation water that the farmer applies," says Calvin Perry, UGA Stripling Irrigation Research Park Superintendent.

Flint River Keeper, Gordon Rogers taught the campers how the Floridan aquifer, the region's largest underground water supply, is recharged with rainfall during a typical year and why it is currently so low.

"We're literally taking more water from the system than we used to and we're taking more water from the system than it can handle," says Gordon Rogers, Flint River Keeper Executive Director.

But with 22 counties in Georgia already declared drought disaster areas, the kids were shown cutting edge technology that farmers use to conserve water.

In laymen's terms, that means putting the spray nozzle much closer to the crop, getting it down lower so that the evaporative losses are less," says Perry.

In order to cover one acre with one inch of water, it takes about twenty-seven thousand gallons, that is in comparison to one-hundred gallons for daily basis.

The camp focused on the idea of conservation at home and how to use water more efficiently.

"If you want to spread the word on something, you tell a few middle schoolers and I guarantee you, the word will get out," says Perry.

With drought conditions leaving crops parched, camp leaders are hoping these kids take away valuable tips on how to conserve water at their own homes.

"Like not running the dishwasher unless it is a full load, same thing with your washing machine, looking for leaks, and if they wash their car, do it on the grass, do not do it on the concrete. You know, just some simple things that we forget about," says Jennifer Grogan, Mitchell County Extension Coordinator and 4H agent.

Simple, but important lessons that could help these young people protect our water supply.

The Stripling Irrigation Research Park is also in the process of researching seed development in making crops more drought resistant.

Tomorrow, the campers will get a chance to play in the water they've been learning about at Water World in Dothan, Alabama.