Opinions on Irrigation Water Management Tools and Alternative Irrigation Sources by Farmers from the Delta Region of Mississippi
Author: Gurbir Singh, Nicolas E. Quintana Ashwell, Gurpreet Kaur, Drew Gholson, Martin A. Locke, L.J. Krutz, and Trey Cooke,
Water withdrawals for irrigation at an unsustainable rate resulted in a decline in the groundwater levels in the Mississippi River Valley Alluvial Aquifer (MRVAA) in the central southern USA. This drawdown of groundwater threatens agricultural production in the Mississippi Delta, an important agricultural region in the state of Mississippi, USA. Effective and efficient use of available resources is important to sustain and enhance agricultural productivity in this area. This study assessed the opinions of farmers on water conservation management practices and technologies that improve irrigation management and save water in the Mississippi Delta region based on data collected in an irrigation survey conducted in 2012. Most landowners believed that water conservation practices were effective in reducing irrigation water use without reducing maximum crop yields and have a positive return on investment. Land forming, tailwater recovery system, on-farm storage, instream weirs to pond surface water, computerized hole selection for furrow irrigation, short irrigation runs, and irrigation scheduling were considered efficient water conservation technologies by landowners. Perceptions about use of different practices also depend upon the crops produced by the respondents. About 20 to 24% and 14.9 to 86% of survey respondents thought that on-farm storage and center pivot, respectively, were inefficient water conservation practices for irrigating crops in the Mississippi Delta. The adoption of these practices may be increased if the landowners know the economic returns of implementing them.
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