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ARS Home » Plains Area » Bushland, Texas » Conservation and Production Research Laboratory » Soil and Water Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #358883

Research Project: Precipitation and Irrigation Management to Optimize Profits from Crop Production

Location: Soil and Water Management Research

Title: Water and food security challanges: ASA and ARS respond

item Evett, Steven - Steve

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/15/2018
Publication Date: 10/4/2018
Citation: Evett, S.R. 2018. Water and food security challanges: ASA and ARS respond [abstract]. Global Water Security Conference for Agriculture and Natural Resources, October 3-7, 2018, Hyderabad, India. GWS-0293.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Water security is a global concern. For both agriculture and the environment, sustainability is key to security and a systems approach is essential for achieving both. The American Society of Agronomy has 7 discipline-oriented Sections and >50 Communities under those Sections. Because water is essential for crop production, it is not surprising that >20 ASA Communities are directly or very closely related to water in agriculture. Some are focused on finding out how much water is used by crops, others focus on how water management can be improved, but all recognize the centrality of water security to agricultural production sustainability. The importance of water management is evidenced by ASA publication of four recent books: Agroclimatology: Linking Agriculture to Climate; Precision Conservation: Geospatial Techniques for Agricultural and Natural Resources Conservation; Precision Agriculture Basics; and Practical Mathematics for Precision Agriculture. All four teach us important aspects of water in the environment and water management in agriculture. Similarly, the USDA Agricultural Research Service address water security and sustainability concerns through several national programs, but most completely through National Program 211, Water Availability and Management; and National Program 215, Sustainable Agriculture Systems Research. ARS research on irrigation methods and management addresses aspects from irrigation scheduling to crop selection for water use efficiency, but research is increasingly focused on precision irrigation technologies that allow the placement of water where and when needed, in the amount required and using the most efficient method. Approaches range from multi-satellite sensor fusion that uses data from satellites with different return periods, resolutions and sensors to provide daily, 30-m resolution data on soil moisture content and crop ET, to proximal sensing systems used to inform automatic irrigation system responses to plant and soil water stresses. Today’s irrigation research has changed to address the new problems of precision irrigation management, which has become possible because >50% of U.S. irrigated lands are served by pressurized irrigation systems that can be controlled using supervisory control and data acquisition systems. After the rapid increase in irrigated area in the 1800’s and 1900’s, the first blue revolution, rapid conversion from gravity flow surface irrigation systems to pressurized pipe serving sprinklers and microirrigation systems constituted the second blue revolution that began in earnest after 1950 and continues to this day. The third blue revolution is that of precision irrigation, which became possible due to the pressurization of irrigation systems but is enabled by the GPS, GIS, inexpensive computing and sensing systems of today. The ubiquity of the Internet and cellular telephone systems has allowed data to be accessed anywhere and sent anywhere. Open source hardware and software with worldwide user communities close the circle of systems development so that solutions for precision irrigation can be developed quickly and relatively inexpensively and applied nearly anywhere.