Submitted to: Agronomy Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 1, 1999
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Irrigated agriculture is a vital component of total agriculture and supplies many of the fruits, vegetables, and cereal foods used by humans; the grains fed to animals to be used as human food; and the feed to sustain animals in many parts of the world. World-wide irrigation was about 263 million ha in 1996 with about 49% of the world's irrigation in India, China, and the United States. Yet, frequent reports indicate that scarcel one-third of our rainfall, surface or groundwater is used to produce useful plants. Without careful management, irrigated agriculture has been detrimental to the environment and has endangered sustainability. Irrigated agriculture is facing growing competition for low-cost, high-quality water. Water use efficiency (WUE) in irrigated agriculture is broader in scope than most agronomic applications and must be considered on a basin or catchment scale. The main pathways for enhancing WUE in irrigated agriculture are to increase the output per unit of water (engineering and agronomic aspects), reduce losses of water to unusable sinks and reduce water degradation (environmental aspects), and reallocate water to higher uses (societal aspects).