Optimum On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency for Sustainable Agriculture

by B. Davidoff,
E. Craddock,
M. Roos,
F. Karajeh,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: North American Water and Environment Congress & Destructive Water


In irrigated agriculture, on-farm irrigation efficiency and salinity build-up in the crop root zone are interrelated. Sustainability of soil productivity and crop production depends on maintaining a salt balance in the crop root zone over the long term. This paper deals with the issue of on-farm efficiency and sustainability of the soil environment and productivity. The staff California Department of Water Resources in cooperation with other State agenciess staff and other experts have determined a target/optimum on-farm irrigation efficiency for Californias irrigated agriculture. The approach takes into consideration irrigation system distribution uniformity of 80 percent, and a 5 percent leaching requirement. The optimum irrigation efficiency herein provides a new look into a range of irrigation efficiencies between 70 and 80 percent, below and above which salt build-up may occur. While the necessity of incorporating leaching requirements in the irrigation efficiency calculation has been recognized, the approach further recognizes the importance of accounting for non-uniformity in irrigation water application in calculating efficiency.

Subject Headings: Irrigation | Water resources | Sustainable development | Irrigation water | Crops | Water conservation | Vegetation | California | United States

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