American Society of Civil Engineers

History of Irrigation in the Northeastern U.S.

by William F. Ritter, (Bioresources Engineering Department, University of Delaware, Newark, DE, 19716. E-mail:
Section: History and Heritage, pp. 1916-1923, (doi:

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2011: Bearing Knowledge for Sustainability
Abstract: Irrigation acreage has increased from 209,855 acres in 1956 to 463,740 acres in 20007. Delaware and Maryland have had a steady increase in irrigation acreage. Most of this increase has been for corn on the Delmarva Peninsula. Before 1969 most of the irrigation in the Northeast was for potatoes, vegetables and fruit. The first comprehensive irrigation research occurred from 1950–1960. In 1955, the Technical Regional Committee on Irrigation (NE 22) was formed to coordinate the research. Extensive irrigation research occurred in Delaware from 1976–1992. The research included water quality impacts of irrigation, evapotranspiration and irrigation water management.

ASCE Subject Headings:
United States