This industry consists of establishments primarily engaged in operating water supply systems for the purpose of irrigation. Establishments primarily engaged in operating irrigation systems for others, but do not themselves provide water, are classified in SIC 0721: Crop Planting, Cultivating, and Protecting.
Water Supply and Irrigation Systems
As environmentalists, scientists, health officials, and policy analysts looked ahead to the most pressing problems facing the twenty-first century, the balance of demand and availability of fresh water was near the top of the list of concerns. With population figures booming through much of the world, particularly in developing countries, coupled with skyrocketing demand for clean water and delicate and imperiled ecosystems depending on ever more precarious water supplies, it was believed that innovative irrigation systems were required to stave of environmental and social catastrophe.
According to the United Nations Food & Agricultural Organization's report, "Unlocking the Potential of Agriculture," by 2030 world food production will need to increase about 60 percent to adequately feed the 2 billion more people expected to populate the planet. Agriculture consumes about 70 percent of all water withdrawals, according to Appropriate Technology, and the water required to yield an average person's adequate diet exceeds the quantity that person drinks by a factor of about one thousand. As a result, irrigation systems will require dramatic innovation to avoid potentially serious social conflict stemming from increased competition for scarce water resources.
In the United States, there were some 1,385 establishments engaged primarily in operating water irrigation systems in 2003, with total annual sales of $783.3 million and employing nearly 11,000. The early and mid-2000s saw many of these establishments partnering with scientists to implement new technologies designed to boost irrigation efficiency.
The Center for Irrigation Technology at the California State University described irrigation as the artificial application of water to crops to ensure adequate moisture for growth. Irrigation systems ship water from its source to where it is needed. In the United States in the early 2000s, approximately 64.1...