Phreatophytes - Water Use and Potential Water Saving

by Dean C. Muckel,

Serial Information: Journal of the Irrigation and Drainage Division, 1966, Vol. 92, Issue 4, Pg. 27-34

Document Type: Journal Paper


Salvage of water consumed by phreatophytes of low economical value has long been considered, and increasing emphasis is being placed on this source of water in the arid and semiarid West. Evaluation of potential savings in water use requires that water use be estimated under present and modified conditions. Measurement of evapotranspiration by phreatophytes poses problems which are examined. Salvage of water now being used is difficult to accomplish as the plants are persistent and difficult to eradicate. Three methods of salvage are listed. Saltcedar, an extremely high user of water, is increasing in area and density of growth. Large amounts of water are available for salvage if a practical means can be found to eradicate this phreatophyte. Greasewood has a relatively low unit use of water, but owing to the large area (12,500,000 acres) in the Great Basin the potential for water salvage is great. Substituting a beneficial phreatophyte for greasewood appears to be the most practical procedure.

Subject Headings: Water conservation | Water use | Arid lands | Economic factors | Evapotranspiration | Salt water | Water level | Density currents

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