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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Improving Irrigated Agriculture Performance Through An Understanding of the Water Delivery Process

Author
item Clemmens, Albert

Submitted to: International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 1, 2006
Publication Date: August 15, 2006
Citation: Clemmens, A.J. 2006. Improving irrigated agriculture performance through an understanding of the water delivery process. Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering. 55:223-234

Interpretive Summary: The performance of large-scale irrigation projects worldwide has been disappointing to the international community. Continued poor performance could limit our ability to provide food and fibre for a growing, more affluent world population. Improvement in the productivity of large irrigation systems is a key component to assuring future adequate food and fibre supplies. This paper discusses the reasons for poor performance of these schemes and proposes a method to improve their performance. A main problem is that operation of these irrigation systems is not tied to productivity. As a result, the dispersive nature of these large open canal distribution systems causes extreme variability in water delivery service to users. The remedy is to break the system down at key intermediate locations within the network and to improve physical and administrative control at those locations. This should be of interest to the Bureau of Reclamation, consultants, the World Bank, U.S. Agency for International Development, and other international aid groups.

Technical Abstract: The performance of large-scale irrigation projects worldwide has been disappointing to the international community. Continued poor performance could limit our ability to provide food and fibre for a growing, more affluent world population. Improvement in the productivity of large irrigation systems is a key component to assuring future adequate food and fibre supplies. This paper discusses the reasons for poor performance of these schemes and proposes a method to improve their performance. A main problem is that operation of these irrigation systems is not tied to productivity. As a result, the dispersive nature of these large open canal distribution systems causes extreme variability in water delivery service to users. The remedy is to break the system down at key intermediate locations within the network and to improve physical and administrative control at those locations

Last Modified: 12/19/2014
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