Submitted to: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: June 1, 1998
Publication Date: N/A
Irrigated agriculture is a critical part of our food production system, supplying 40% of the U.S. crop value on 15% of the cropped land. Most of the fruits and vegetables we eat are produced with irrigation. Without irrigation, much more land would need to be brought into cultivation to feed our growing population. Irrigation is facing increasing competition for limited water supplies. The irrigation process causes environmental impacts, including depletion of stream flows and reduced water quality. Our challenge as scientists and engineers is to develop techniques to sustain and enhance the productivity of irrigated agriculture while using resources wisely and minimizing the negative impacts. The public must also realize that irrigation is critical to our agricultural productivity and that some environmental tradeoffs are necessary.