Submitted to: Congress of International Association for Hydraulic Research Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: August 10, 1997
Publication Date: N/A
Irrigation has been practiced for thousands of years and is critical to our present global food supplies. Although irrigated area had expanded rapidly since World War II, the growth has slowed dramatically in recent years. Reasons for slowed growth include the high cost of irrigation development and competition for limited water supplies. Soil salinization and negative environmental impacts affect the sustainability of irrigated agriculture. Technological advances may reduce the costs or increase the benefits of irrigation, and can improve the sustainability and reduce environmental impacts. Irrigation will continue for the foreseeable future, because our global food supplies depend on it. Future growth will vary regionally, and will depend upon global food supply needs and the ability of irrigated agriculture to reduce negative impacts.