How Does Agriculture Affect Water Quality?

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Introduction: Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR), one of the world’s most precious marine ecosystems, has been deteriorating due to poor water quality (Kroon et al., 2016). One of the main reasons for this substantial decline in water quality over recent decades is agricultural runoff of nitrogen, pesticides/ herbicides and sediment (Figure 1). In fact, the water quality is most affected in the inshore areas in the southern and central regions near the most intensive agriculture. The impacts are biophysical in their effects on the marine animal and plants of the Reef. For example, coral cover declined about 50 percent from 1985-2013 (Brodie et al., 2013, p.2). The impacts are socioeconomic, since the GBR was estimated to contribute about …show more content…
Therefore, what is needed is a sustainable solution to minimize the impact of agriculture on water quality to keep the GBR alive. Farmers need to adapt more sustainable farming to minimize the amount of runoff of sediment, nitrogen, and pesticides. Methods used to date have included contour plowing, using GPS navigation to reduce driving and its contribution to runoff and use of more pesticide and herbicide-resistant crops. The aim of this essay is to identify the impacts of agriculture on water quality of the GBR and to discuss approaches to reduce these impacts and their effectiveness to …show more content…
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