Deciding when and how much water to apply to a field has a significant impact on the total amount of water used by the crop water use efficiency and irrigation efficiency. Using a more scientific approach to scheduling has generally been shown to decrease the amount of water applied while improving yield.
An organization called CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) published an article online that reports 10 differerent ways farmers can conserve water with links to informative research articles. Here is a quick list:
Tailwater Return Systems
To provide adequate water to the low end of the field, surface irrigation requires that a certain amount of water be spilled or drained off as tailwater. Tailwater return systems catch this runoff and pump the water back to the top of the field for reuse.
2. Capturing and
Our groundwater usage must be kept in check in order to maintain fresh and safe groundwater for our future. As we over-consume groundwater, seawater enters into the freshwater aquifer, salinizing it to an unusable point for human or agriculture consumption.
According to UC Davis researchers, the key to agricultural water conservation is to reach a crop's evapotranspiration (ET) value.
Do More! Lindmore ID is a member of EWGSA (East Kaweah Groundwater Sustainability Agency) Visit www.ewgsa.org to learn more and find ways to make a difference.
The Deptartment of Water Resources posted three suggested conservation methods on their website at www.water.ca.gov.
Irrigation System Improvements
Irrigation system improvement involves modifying the irrigation method or use of hardware and software to properly apply water to the field while minimizing water losses. For example improved furrows, combination of furrow and sprinkler, and changing from surface irrigation (flood, furrow and border check) to pressurized systems (sprinkler, drip, microirrigation). This increases uniformity and decreases applied water.
Watering past the ET value of a crop becomes inefficient because crops no longer take up excess water.