IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Irrigation evaluation based on performance analysis and water accounting at the Bear River Irrigation Project (U.S.A.)


  • Lecina, S.
  • Neale, C.M.U.
  • Merkley, G.P.
  • Dos Santos, C.A.C.


The purpose of this work is to contribute to the development of a combined approach to evaluate irrigated areas based on: (1) irrigation performance analysis intended to assess the productive impacts of irrigation practices and infrastructures, and (2) water accounting focused on the hydrological impacts of water use. Ador-Simulation, a combined model that simulates irrigation, water delivery, and crop growth and production was applied in a surface irrigated area (1213Â ha) located in the Bear River Irrigation Project, Utah, U.S.A.. A soil survey, a campaign of on-farm irrigation evaluations and an analysis of the database from the Bear River Canal Company and other resources were performed in order to obtain the data required to simulate the water flows of the study area in 2008. Net land productivity (581Â US$Â ha-1) was 20% lower than the potential value, whereas on-farm irrigation efficiency (IE) averaged only 60%. According to the water accounting, water use amounted to 14.24Â Mm3, 86% of which was consumed through evapotranspiration or otherwise non-recoverable. Gross water productivity over depleted water reached 0.132Â US$Â m-3. In addition, two strategies for increasing farm productivity were analyzed. These strategies intended to improve water management and infrastructures raised on-farm IE to 90% reducing the gap between current and potential productivities by about 50%. Water diverted to the project was reduced by 2.64Â Mm3. An analysis based on IE could lead to think that this volume would be saved. However, the water accounting showed that actually only 0.91Â Mm3 would be available for alternative uses. These results provide insights to support the decision-making processes of farmers, water user associations, river basin authorities and policy makers. Water accounting overcomes the limitations and hydrological misunderstandings of traditional analysis based on irrigation efficiency to assess irrigated areas in the context of water scarcity and competitive agricultural markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Lecina, S. & Neale, C.M.U. & Merkley, G.P. & Dos Santos, C.A.C., 2011. "Irrigation evaluation based on performance analysis and water accounting at the Bear River Irrigation Project (U.S.A.)," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 98(9), pages 1349-1363, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agiwat:v:98:y:2011:i:9:p:1349-1363

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bos, M. G. & Burton, M. A. & Molden, David J., 2005. "Irrigation and drainage performance assessment: practical guidelines," IWMI Books, Reports H037064, International Water Management Institute.
    2. Flake, John & Moon, Todd K. & McKee, Mac & Gunther, Jacob H., 2010. "Application of the relevance vector machine to canal flow prediction in the Sevier River Basin," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 208-214, February.
    3. Causapé Valenzuela, Jesús, 2009. "Agro-environmental evaluation of irrigation land: I. Water use in Bardenas irrigation district (Spain)," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 179-187, February.
    4. Lecina, S. & Playan, E. & Isidoro, D. & Dechmi, F. & Causape, J. & Faci, J.M., 2005. "Irrigation evaluation and simulation at the Irrigation District V of Bardenas (Spain)," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 223-245, May.
    5. Playan, E. & Cavero, J. & Mantero, I. & Salvador, R. & Lecina, S. & Faci, J.M. & Andres, J. & Salvador, V. & Cardena, G. & Ramon, S. & Lacueva, J.L. & Tejero, M. & Ferri, J. & Martinez-Cob, A., 2007. "A database program for enhancing irrigation district management in the Ebro Valley (Spain)," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 209-216, January.
    6. de Fraiture, Charlotte & Wichelns, D. & Rockstrom, J. & Kemp-Benedict, E. & Eriyagama, Nishadi & Gordon, L. J. & Hanjra, M. A. & Hoogeveen, J. & Huber-Lee, A. & Karlberg, L., 2007. "Looking ahead to 2050: scenarios of alternative investment approaches," Book Chapters, International Water Management Institute.
    7. Seckler, D., 1996. "The new era of water resources management: from \dry\ to \wet\ water savings," IWMI Research Reports H018206, International Water Management Institute.
    8. Mateos, Luciano & Lozano, David & Baghil, Ahmed Baba Ould & Diallo, Oumar Abdoul & Gómez-Macpherson, Helena & Comas, Jordi & Connor, David, 2010. "Irrigation performance before and after rehabilitation of a representative, small irrigation scheme besides the Senegal River, Mauritania," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 97(6), pages 901-909, June.
    9. Molden, D. J. & Sakthivadivel, R. & Perry, C. J. & de Fraiture, C. & Kloezen, W. H., 1998. "Indicators for comparing performance of irrigated agricultural systems," IWMI Research Reports H022308, International Water Management Institute.
    10. Seckler, D. & Molden, D. & Sakthivadivel, R., 2003. "The concept of efficiency in water resources management and policy," IWMI Books, Reports H032634, International Water Management Institute.
    11. Isidoro, D. & Quilez, D. & Aragues, R., 2004. "Water balance and irrigation performance analysis: La Violada irrigation district (Spain) as a case study," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 123-142, January.
    12. Molden, David J. & Sakthivadivel, Ramasamy & Perry, Christopher J. & de Fraiture, Charlotte & Kloezen, Wim H., 1998. "Indicators for comparing performance of irrigated agricultural systems," IWMI Research Reports 44581, International Water Management Institute.
    13. Molden, David & Oweis, Theib & Steduto, Pasquale & Bindraban, Prem & Hanjra, Munir A. & Kijne, Jacob, 2010. "Improving agricultural water productivity: Between optimism and caution," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 97(4), pages 528-535, April.
    14. Perry, C. J., 1999. "The IWMI water resources paradigm - definitions and implications," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 45-50, March.
    15. Perry, C. J., 1996. "The IIMI water balance framework: a model for project level analysis," IWMI Research Reports H019241, International Water Management Institute.
    16. Perry, Chris & Steduto, Pasquale & Allen, Richard. G. & Burt, Charles M., 2009. "Increasing productivity in irrigated agriculture: Agronomic constraints and hydrological realities," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 96(11), pages 1517-1524, November.
    17. Playan, E. & Slatni, A. & Castillo, R. & Faci, J. M., 2000. "A case study for irrigation modernisation: II: Scenario analysis," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 335-354, January.
    18. Akbari, Mehdi & Toomanian, Norair & Droogers, Peter & Bastiaanssen, Wim & Gieske, Ambro, 2007. "Monitoring irrigation performance in Esfahan, Iran, using NOAA satellite imagery," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 88(1-3), pages 99-109, March.
    19. Playan, Enrique & Mateos, Luciano, 2006. "Modernization and optimization of irrigation systems to increase water productivity," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 80(1-3), pages 100-116, February.
    20. Lecina, S. & Isidoro, D. & Playán, E. & Aragüés, R., 2010. "Irrigation modernization and water conservation in Spain: The case of Riegos del Alto Aragón," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 97(10), pages 1663-1675, October.
    21. Dechmi, F. & Playan, E. & Faci, J. M. & Tejero, M. & Bercero, A., 2003. "Analysis of an irrigation district in northeastern Spain: II. Irrigation evaluation, simulation and scheduling," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 93-109, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Ghahroodi, E. Mokari & Noory, H. & Liaghat, A.M., 2015. "Performance evaluation study and hydrologic and productive analysis of irrigation systems at the Qazvin irrigation network (Iran)," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 189-195.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:agiwat:v:98:y:2011:i:9:p:1349-1363. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.