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Jim WilfongWe in Maine have such an abundance of water that we tend to take it for granted, seldom questioning that it will always be here for us; but by 2005, an ongoing struggle had begun in Maine to ensure the continuous supply of potable water for all. Now, towns in Maine and worldwide are struggling against giant corporations for control of water.

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A free resource highlights new approaches to water use, including promising conservation measures. “Smart Water Use on Your Farm or Ranch,” a 16-page bulletin by the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), features ways to manage soil to improve infiltration, select drought-tolerant crops and native forages, and design innovative runoff collection systems.

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Smart Water Use on Your Farm or Ranch spotlights innovative, SARE-funded research into conservation options including soil management, such as using compost, conservation tillage and cover crops; plant management, featuring crop rotation, water-conserving plants and rangeland drought mitigation; and water management strategies such as low-volume irrigation and water recycling.

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In a world plagued by water shortages, three facts stand out in an analysis by Cornell University ecologists: Less than 1% of water on the planet is fresh water; agriculture in the United States consumes 80% of available fresh water each year; and 60% of U.S. water intended for crop irrigation never reaches the crops.

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Tips for saving water in the home, and in the garden and landscape.

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Every household should have emergency resources on hand in case of a power outage. These should include food, flashlights and batteries, and enough water to last for a few days for drinking, brushing teeth, cooking and washing dishes.

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