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Strategies for utilizing shallow ground water in arid areas




Ayars, James E., author
Schoneman, Richard A., author
Soppe, Richard W., author
U.S. Committee on Irrigation and Drainage, publisher

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Shallow ground water in arid irrigated areas has generally been treated as a waste product of irrigation which was to be discharged into an available water course for ultimate disposal in an ocean. This practice is no longer environmentally acceptable and means need to be developed to minimize the environmental impact of uncontrolled discharge of drainage water from irrigated lands. This paper presents the results of field and theoretical studies which demonstrate methods to reduce and minimize the volume of drainage water for disposal. The field studies demonstrated the use of subsurface drip irrigation with modified crop coefficients to increase the water use from shallow ground water, and the use of control structures on drainage systems to control the depth to shallow ground water to improve the water use by the crop from shallow ground water. Application of these techniques resulted in significant use of ground water by cotton and tomato. The theoretical studies demonstrated that using new drainage design criteria will result in less drainage discharge and lower salt loads. Improved irrigation efficiency will have the largest impact on reducing total drainage discharge.


Presented at Contemporary challenges for irrigation and drainage: proceedings from the USCID 14th technical conference on irrigation, drainage and flood control held on June 3-6, 1998 in Phoenix, Arizona.

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