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The Importance of Water Springs


Diego Poça Pettene ( 1) , Jayson Salvador Bis ( 1) , Wander Ramos Gomes ( 2) ( 1 ) Cooabriel Agricultural Technic – studying Environmental Engineering ; ( 2 ) Cooabriel – MSc Agronomist in
Tropical Agriculture

Fresh water is considered essencial for sustaining life on earth, meeting basic needs like health, food production and the continuity of ecosystems. This importance, coupled with the high possibility of its scarcity, makes the conservation and recovery of water sources an essential item for the maintenance of life quality of the future generations. Water springs supply the streams and waterways which in turn will supply the rivers. If there is no protection of these water springs, most likely the available water flow in rivers will suffer, affecting its quality and the environment around it.

To recover and preserve water springs and fountains on rural properties we can adopt protection measures for the soil and vegetation that covers it, banning practices such as burning and deforestation, and adopting complementary forms of water springs protection such as reforestation.

The following are comments on practices that degrade water springs and practices for its preservation and recovery:


SOIL COMPRESSION – The soil compression is performed when animals are allowed access to the water spring, reducing its infiltration capacity, subjecting it to erosion, and thus causing siltation of the water springs and the contamination of the its water by soil particles, reducing its quality. The flow is also impaired as the compressed soil makes it harder for the water to flourish out of the spring, thus reducing its flow.

SURFACE FIRES – After deforestation, producers often set fire to vegetation debris to better clear the ground, however as the waste from the forest is burned it ends up destroying the organic matter of the soil surface layer, eliminating microorganisms that are beneficial to the soil as they act to decompose the remains of plants and animals. Besides it contributes to global warming and causes the risk of a fire getting out of control.

PESTICIDE USE – The excessive use and the misuse of pesticides on crops, are large soil and water contaminants, especially the groundwater. So its use should be controlled and done under the guidance of a project manager. An appropriate place must be built for the disposal of its packaging, which should never be thrown in rivers and streams or put with the property’s general waste.

BAD PLANNING IN ROAD CONSTRUCTION – Generally, farms access roads, built on the slopes, have no proper planning to protect water springs. Cuts for building them are done in inappropriate locations causing soil exposure that coupled with the action of the rains, lead to rivers siltation.


SOIL CONSERVATION – Featuring 03 points:
1 ) Planting in contour – It is a soil and water conservation technique, that is excellent for cultivation on hills and rough terrain. In this type of planting , each plant line forms a barrier reducing the speed of runoffs ;
2 ) Avoid fires – As these cause serious damage to forests and other vegetation, leaving bare ground and killing microorganisms and soil life;
3 ) Make use of crop residues ( straw ) – This material, also called organic matter, when rotten, favors organisms that live on the land by improving the infiltration conditions and water storage in the soil, and reduce the impact of raindrops on the surface.

FENCING OF WATER SPRINGS – Building fences and closing the area around the water spring within a 50 meters radius from the waterhole: prevents the entry of animals and therefore the trampling and soil compaction. It should be maintained clean (avoiding that bushs “take over it”) to prevent that fire, if it happens, reachs the water spring area.

VEGETATION ENRICHMENT – The vegetation around the springs functions as a living barrier for water containment from floods. Priority should be given to native species which are usually divided into pioneer and climax (or secondary species) . The riparian forest should not be planted on the east. A minimum distance of 30 meters should be respect. The vegetation renewal by the springs should happen naturally.

Other measures
The construction of septic tanks at rural homes, avoiding the release sewage waters into the property .
Building tanks for animal waste, especially in the case of pig farming.
The construction of water supply troughs for livestock along the property, thus preventing the movement of animals near the springs and streams.

Cooperativa Agrária dos Cafeicultores de São Gabriel
Avenida João XXIII, Nº 08 - Centro, São Gabriel da Palha - ES
[email protected]
(27) 2158-1000

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