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Water Conservation in Irrigated Agriculture: Trends and Challenges in the Face of Emerging Demands

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  • Schaible, Glenn D.
  • Aillery, Marcel P.

Abstract

This report relies on fi ndings from several national surveys and current literature to assess water resource use and conservation measures within the U.S. irrigated crop sector. U.S. agriculture accounts for 80-90 percent of the Nation’s consumptive water use (water lost to the environment by evaporation, crop transpiration, or incorporation into products. Expanding water demands to support population and economic growth, environmental flows (water within wetlands, rivers, and groundwater systems needed to maintain natural ecosystems), and energy-sector growth, combined with Native American water-right claims and supply/demand shifts expected with climate change, will present new challenges for agricultural water use and conservation, particularly for the 17 Western States that account for nearly three-quarters of U.S. irrigated agriculture. Despite technological innovations, at least half of U.S. irrigated cropland acreage is still irrigated with less effi-cient, traditional irrigation application systems. Sustainability of irrigated agriculture will depend partly on whether producers adopt more effi cient irrigation production systems that integrate improved onfarm water management practices with effi-cient irrigation application systems.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service in its series Economic Information Bulletin with number 134692.

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Date of creation: 27 Sep 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ags:uersib:134692

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Related research

Keywords: agricultural water conservation; irrigated agriculture; irrigation effi ciency; water supply and demand; irrigation technologies; water management practices; water conservation policy; Environmental Economics and Policy; Resource /Energy Economics and Policy;

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References

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  1. Kim, C. S. & Moore, Michael R. & Hanchar, John J. & Nieswiadomy, Michael, 1989. "A dynamic model of adaptation to resource depletion: theory and an application to groundwater mining," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 66-82, July.
  2. Malcolm, Scott A. & Aillery, Marcel P. & Weinberg, Marca, 2009. "Ethanol and a Changing Agricultural Landscape," Economic Research Report 55671, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  3. Marcel Aillery & Robbin Shoemaker & Margriet Caswell, 2001. "Agriculture and Ecosystem Restoration in South Florida: Assessing Trade-Offs from Water-Retention Development in the Everglades Agricultural Area," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(1), pages 183-195.
  4. Glenn D. Schaible, 1997. "Water Conservation Policy Analysis: An Interregional, Multi-Output, Primal-Dual Optimization Approach," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(1), pages 163-177.
  5. Glenn D. Schaible & C. S. Kim & Marcel P. Aillery, 2010. "Dynamic Adjustment of Irrigation Technology/Water Management in Western U.S. Agriculture: Toward a Sustainable Future," Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society/Societe canadienne d'agroeconomie, vol. 58(s1), pages 433-461, December.
  6. Harwood, Joy L. & Heifner, Richard G. & Coble, Keith H. & Perry, Janet E. & Somwaru, Agapi, 1999. "Managing Risk in Farming: Concepts, Research, and Analysis," Agricultural Economics Reports 34081, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  7. Janis M. Carey & David Zilberman, 2002. "A Model of Investment under Uncertainty: Modern Irrigation Technology and Emerging Markets in Water," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 84(1), pages 171-183.
  8. Peterson, Jeffrey M. & Marsh, Thomas L. & Williams, Jeffery R., 2003. "Conserving the Ogallala Aquifer: Efficiency, Equity, and Moral Motives," Choices, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 18(1).
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Cited by:
  1. Kovacs, Kent F. & Popp, Michael P. & Brye, Kristofor R., 2013. "Conserving Groundwater Supply in the Arkansas Delta using On-Farm Reservoirs," 2013 Annual Meeting, February 2-5, 2013, Orlando, Florida 142880, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.

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