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    The Potential Contribution of Subsurface Drip Irrigation to Water-Saving Agriculture in the Western USA

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    Abstract
    Water shortages within the western USA are resulting in the adoption of water-saving agricultural practices within this region. Among the many possible methods for saving water in agriculture, the adoption of subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) provides a potential solution to the problem of low water use efficiency. Other advantages of SDI include reduced NO3 leaching compared to surface irrigation, higher yields, a dry soil surface for improved weed control, better crop health, and harvest flexibility for many specialty crops. The use of SDI also allows the virtual elimination of crop water stress, the ability to apply water and nutrients to the most active part of the root zone, protection of drip lines from damage due to cultivation and tillage, and the ability to irrigate with wastewater while preventing human contact. Yet, SDI is used only on a minority of cropland in the arid western USA. Reasons for the limited adoption of SDI include the high initial capital investment required, the need for intensive management, and the urbanization that is rapidly consuming farmland in parts of the western USA. The contributions of SDI to increasing yield, quality, and water use efficiency have been demonstrated. The two major barriers to SDI sustainability in arid regions are economics (i.e., paying for the SDI system), including the high cost of installation; and salt accumulation, which requires periodic leaching, specialized tillage methods, or transplanting of seedlings rather than direct-seeding. We will review advances in irrigation management with SDI.
     

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    作者:TL, Thompson, PANG, Huan-cheng, LI, Yu-yi 来源:Elsevier 发布时间:2011年07月13日