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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: A review of evolving critical priorities for irrigated agriculture

item Colaizzi, Paul
item Bliesner, R
item Hardy, L

Submitted to: Environmental and Water Resources Institute World Congress Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/25/2008
Publication Date: 5/12/2008
Citation: Colaizzi, P.D., Bliesner, R.D., Hardy, L.A. 2008. A review of evolving critical priorities for irrigated agriculture. In: Proceedings of the Environmental and Water Resources Institute World Congress, May 12-16, 2008, Honolulu, Hawaii. 2008 CDROM.

Interpretive Summary: Irrigated agriculture is very important for food security. Irrigation will become even more important as the world's population expands. In many places in the world, there is not enough water for irrigation. More water is needed for urban and industrial uses. Water is also needed for ecosystems. Crop yields must be improved, but less water must be used. This can be done in a number of ways. Examples include better irrigation management, better cultivation techniques, and advanced irrigation systems. Local agencies are needed to help farmers save water. More land area and water will still be needed for irrigation. This will require careful management of water resources. This article summarizes the relevant and contemporary bibliography on this subject.

Technical Abstract: The evolving roles and critical priorities of irrigated agriculture, as perceived by practitioners, researchers, and policy makers, were reviewed. Irrigated agriculture has played a vital role in meeting food and fiber demands on a relatively small proportion of total arable land. This role is presently expanding to also include biofuel and industrial materials production. At the same time, water availability is almost universally declining where intensive irrigation has been developed. This has been mainly due to declining water resources, inadequate storage capacity, or greater competition from non-agricultural uses. Although certain priorities may be specific to a location or region, the unifying priorities for irrigated agriculture, in order to meet unprecedented demands by a worldwide population that is increasing both in size and in industrialization, are to increase water productivity, sustain ecosystems, find synergy and avoid conflict among agriculture, urban, and environmental uses of water resources.

Last Modified: 06/22/2017
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