Verifying conservation estimates for on-farm agricultural water conservation programs

McLeod, John S., author
Pandey, Stacy, author
Ramirez, Ana, author
U.S. Committee on Irrigation and Drainage, publisher
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This paper presents a statistical analysis of water use practices for precision leveled rice fields irrigated by the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) Lakeside irrigation division. Results from this analysis indicate there is a statistically significant difference in water use between leveled and non-leveled fields. The study also evaluated the effects of other water use factors such as other on-farm conservation measures, farmer management practices, and environmental factors. The analysis used a Hierarchical Linear Model (HLM) technique to statistically model water use and farm practice data over a 4-year period. This study is a conservation verification component of LCRA's HB 1437 Agriculture Water Conservation Program. The House Bill 1437 (HB 1437) Agriculture Water Conservation Program is an innovative way to meet rising municipal demands in Williamson County (located in the Colorado River Basin of Texas), conserve river water used for irrigation, and maintain agriculture productivity. The grant program began in 2006, and from 2006-2009 has funded up to a 30% cost share to precision level 18,869 acres of farm land irrigated with surface water from LCRA. To date an estimated 5,567 acre-feet of water has been conserved as a result of these precision land leveling grants. LCRA partnered with the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas to develop the statistical model and analysis presented in this paper.
Presented at Emerging challenges and opportunities for irrigation managers: energy, efficiency and infrastructure: a USCID water management conference held on April 26-29, 2011 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
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