For the InstructorThese student materials complement the Water, Agriculture, Sustainability Instructor Materials. If you would like your students to have access to the student materials, we suggest you either point them at the Student Version which omits the framing pages with information designed for faculty (and this box). Or you can download these pages in several formats that you can include in your course website or local Learning Managment System. Learn more about using, modifying, and sharing InTeGrate teaching materials.
Unit 3: Crops and Irrigation Patterns in the U.S.
In this unit, you will quantitatively assess how much water is used for irrigating crops and how this varies across the United States. You will then link this water use to the economic value of the crops that are produced. The concepts that you learn here will connect back to the Water Footprint idea that was introduced in Unit 2 - you may reconsider the accuracy of national water calculators.
Before class, you should read pages 25-27 of Maupin et al. 2014, USGS irrigation info (Acrobat (PDF) 350kB Jun17 16). This will give you background information on freshwater withdrawals for irrigation across the United States. You will be using the data from this article in the class exercise.
To get you thinking about crops, define the term "agriculture." Use as much detail as possible and provide a drawing or images that support your description.
In class, you will use the Student Exercise (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 1.4MB Jan23 17) to learn about how much water is used for irrigation in seven states representing the east, midwest, and west. Complete the data tables and answer the questions as completely as possible.
In the second part of the assignment, you will use data tables from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) that are based on a census from farms in the US: Unit 3 data packet (Acrobat (PDF) 369kB Nov9 16).
References and Resources
Maupin, M.A., Kenny, J.F., Hutson, S.S., Lovelace, J.K., Barber, N.L., and Linsey, K.S., (2014) Estimated use of water in the United States in 2010: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1405 (Acrobat (PDF) 350kB Jun17 16), 56 p., Reston, VA: US Geological Survey.
US Department of Agriculture, (2014). 2012 Census of Agriculture.