Water-Wise Agriculture: PA Farms and Water Conservation

August 23, 2023

Did you know that Lancaster farmland actually saves water?


Here in Lancaster County, we have the most productive non-irrigated soil in the United States. Because of their irrigation systems, farms in other states consume large amounts of water. However, farming practices in Lancaster rely solely on rainwater to keep their farms running.

So, how does this save clean water? Let’s compare types of land. On irrigated farms, equipment malfunctions waste water quickly. In developed land, pavement covers most of the ground, causing run-off and water pollution.

However, unlike either of these, farmland in Lancaster absorbs rainwater into the ground, preventing waste, run-off, and pollution. Because our farmlands are vegetated, that water is soaked up by plants and transpired back into the air. The transpired vapor begins the water cycle again, essentially recycling the clean water.

According to the Lancaster County Agricultural Council, the average 78-acre farm can collect about 38 million gallons of groundwater from rain per year. Of those 38 million gallons, 37 million gallons are recycled by farmland and used again.


But what does this have to do with farmland preservation?

Each year, precious farmland and good soil in Lancaster are threatened by development. An increase in development in Lancaster County means an increase of run-off and water pollution: gallons of clean water down the drain (no pun intended).

Preserving farmland guarantees that a property will only be used for agriculture, forever. This means that these farms will continue to recycle water, saving millions of gallons every year. Every acre makes a difference!


But what if you’re not a farmer? How can you save water?

There are many ways you do your part to save water without quitting your job and becoming a farmer. According to Green Matters, there are multiple easy ways beginners can save right from their homes. Here are only a few of their tips:

  1. Turn off the faucet when you can
  2. Run a fully loaded dishwasher, rather than handwashing dishes
  3. Use short washing machine cycles
  4. Take shorter showers, or change up your shower routine

If you want to read the rest of their tips, click here. Each tip is doable and easy!


Remember, every droplet of clean water matters, and so does our farmland. If you’re eager to help LFT preserve land and save water, click here to learn more about getting involved. If you’re itching to learn even more, check out our conservation publication, Open Views: Water.


stay up to date

Join our newsletter to keep informed about the latest news and events.