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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Is Irrigated Agriculture Sustainable? the Battle to Counteract Salinity

Author
item Williams, Clinton

Submitted to: Southwest Hydrology
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: February 1, 2005
Publication Date: July 1, 2005
Citation: Williams, C.F. Is irrigated agriculture sustainable? the battle to counteract salinity. Southwest Hydrology. 4(4):22-23

Interpretive Summary: Agricultural productivity in the Southwestern United States depends on irrigation to meet crop water needs. Irrigation water carries native salts from the catchments to the field where they are left behind during evapotranspiration. Irrigation is required in nine of the ten top U.S. agricultural producing counties. Increasing urban demand and drought in the West has resulted in a reduction of water available for maintaining salt balance in irrigated lands. The result of the increased salinity is a reduction of yield and shifting crop patterns. If existing trends continue irrigated agriculture will either require more water to maintain salt balance or new technologies will need to be implemented to maintain current levels of productivity.

Technical Abstract: Agricultural productivity in the Southwestern United States depends on irrigation to meet ET needs. Irrigation is required in nine of the ten top agricultural producing counties. Increasing urban demand and drought in the West has resulted in a reduction of water available for maintaining salt balance in irrigated lands. The result of the increased salinity is a reduction of yield and shifting crop patterns. If existing trends continue irrigated agriculture will either require more water to maintain salt balance or new technologies will need to be implemented to maintain current levels of productivity.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014
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