Developing Tools to OptimizeBeneficial Use of Water in theRio Grande BasinZohrab Samani – NMSU CGERhonda Skaggs – NMSU AEABHenry Magallanez – EBIDTask 1: Irrigation District Studies
Project Objectives• Identify parameters affecting– Water needs– Water use efficiency– Economic returns from water• Develop tools, models or strategies tooptimize use of water in Southern NewMexico’s Rio Grande Basin
(1) Accomplishments• Analysis of 2001 EBID water delivery data– Alfalfa, pecans, cotton– Fields > 2 acres– Time, duration of irrigation– Water ordered, irrigated & water righted acres– Relevant canal• Alfalfa results presented here– 524 observations
Alfalfa Farm Size Distribution (2001)60.055.350.0Percentage40.030.020.022.113.910.00.07.11.52--5 5--10 10--20 20--50 >50Acreage
Alfalfa Ac-ft vs Acreage (2001)12.010.0ac-ft/ac8.06.04.02.00.00.00 20.00 40.00 60.00 80.00 100.00Farm Size (Ac)
Alfalfa Irrigation1.41.21ET, ftAv. Irrig.Top 20% Irrig.Top 10% Irrig.Water Use, ft0.80.60.40.20Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep OctMonths
Average ac-ft/ac4.804.604.404.204.003.803.60Alfalfa Average ac-ft per ac4.724.524.294.064.082--5 5--10 10--20 20--50 >50Acreage
Alfalfa Average Hr/Ac/Irrigation (2001)Avg. hr/ac/irrigation2.001.501.000.500.001.731.100.920.600.412--5 5--10 10--20 20--50 >50Acreage (ac)
Alfalfa Results1. Great variability in irrigation efficiency• Some growers achieve > 90% efficiency2. Alfalfa avg. consumptive use = 3.5 ac-ft/ac3. Alfalfa avg. water applied = 4.6 ac-ft/ac4. Alfalfa farms exceeding consumptive use = 70%5. Farms with below avg. irrig. efficiency = 36%6. Some small farms over-irrigated up to 200%
Causes of Low Irrigation Efficiency1. Long, narrow, unleveled fields2. Sandy soils3. Small farm turnouts4. Low discharge head at farm turnout5. Unlined, low capacity, poorly maintainedditches6. Lack of irrigation scheduling7. Over-allocated water right8. Lack of economic incentives9. Lack of irrigation training
Other Accomplishments1. Field analysis of selected farms2. Development of Permeability Index• Used to identify soils with potential excessiveseepage losses.• These soils need improved irrigation system design& management.3. Permeability Index indicates the duration ofirrigation needed to bring the crop root zone tofield capacity.4. Recommendations made to the irrigators
Permeability Index vs. Alfalfa water useA-F/acre8765432103.05 0.11 0.06 0.03Permeability Index
Elephant Butte Irrigation ion District (EBID)Average Permeability Index (PI) Percent byCrop(parcels >2 acres in Northern Mesilla Valley)SUNKEN TRAIN PLACELEGEND:EBID Water SystemRoadCropsCOTTONALFALFA/GRASS/HAYPECANParcelAve.PIPercent byParcel0.019 - 0.3910.391 - 1.0111.011 - 2.1252.125 - 4.0134.013 - 6.667Selden LateralWINDFLYER LANEBEAR CLAW LANESLEEPY HOLLOW WAYHAYRIDE ROADMap Date: June 27, 2002Map PreparedBy: Elephant Butte Irrigation DistrictMap Data: Digital soildata was developed by NRCS.Digital road data was developed by Dona Ana CountyGIS Department. Digital parcel and water systemdata was developed by EBID. ArcInfo GIS processeswereused to combineparcel with soildata andlinkto the Soil PermeabilityIndex developed by NMSU.NWESFRANCISWAYROADWILLIAMBONNEY ROADBaca LateralFOSSIL VIEW ROADREEK ROADCACTUS PATCH WAYDONAANA ROADLeasburg Canal
(2) Communication Within the Task(3) Collaboration Efforts• We are the only NMSU group in Task 1• Research started January 2002• Are sharing info with Task 3 researchers• Our results will improve understanding ofthe range of irrigation efficiencies in otherdistricts.• Hydrological & agricultural systems aregenerally similar throughout the RGB.
(4) Plans & (5) Outcomes1. Analysis of EBID data for other years.2. Continued field validation through direct measurement &chloride tracing.3. Impacts of ag structure on technology adoption, efficiencyimprovements, water marketing are being studied.4. Urban analysis will be expanded.5. Evaluation of various factors on the economic return fromwater will be conducted.6. Exploring other methods to assess consumptive use.7. Develop guidelines for improved agricultural & municipalirrigation.
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