Agricultural Activities That May Contaminate Your Surface Water Source

Over the years, the rising population has increased the demand for food. To meet this increased demand, agricultural producers have adopted advanced production techniques and practices, and this has led to an increase in pollutants contaminating land and water sources. The proliferation of pollutants has prompted attempts to minimise the quantity of contaminants in water sources so as to enhance overall water quality. A good example of such efforts is that farmers are being encouraged to have their agricultural water tested to ensure it is suitable for its intended use.

While water testing is critical in agricultural production, steps should be taken to reduce the risk of water contamination. If you rely on lakes, rivers, ponds, streams, or any other surface water source for your agricultural water, here is a look at some farm practices you should avoid to minimise the risk of contaminating your agricultural water.

Excessive chemical use

When farms are attacked by weeds and pests, many farmers are quick to use weedicides and pesticides to counter the problem. While the use of contact weedicides and pesticides is in itself not bad, using too much of these chemicals will plague your land with contaminants intended to fight the weeds or pests. When it rains, the water will carry the pollutants to your surface water source, making it unsuitable for agricultural use. The same thing may occur if you use excessive fertiliser on your farm. Therefore, make sure to use farm chemicals in a controlled manner.


Livestock farmers who overcrowd their land with animals risk contaminating their agricultural water. This is because high amounts of animal waste are produced and when it rains, the water can move the contaminated soil downstream towards the water source. Try as much as possible not to keep too many animals in your lot so that you can minimise the amount of potentially harmful droppings that may end up in your water source.

Poorly monitored composting

Composting is a common practice among many crop farmers. When composting, organic waste, which is usually bountiful in farms, is piled up somewhere so it can later on be used as plant fertiliser. But if the liquids contained in compost piles are allowed to access your agricultural water source, they will cause contamination. While compost heaps do need to remain moist, limiting the volume of the liquids added to your compost heap can minimise the risk of potentially harmful run-off.