Over the last 40 years the amount of irrigation water used by cotton in the United States has decreased while yields have increased leading to a large increase in crop water productivity (CWP).
Many factors have contributed to improved CWP, such as improvements in water delivery systems.
Irrigation scheduling technologies have also contributed to improved CWP; however, farmer adoption of advanced scheduling technologies is still limited and there is significant room for improvement.
Increased yields from improved cultivars without an increase in water requirements has also been important for CWP.
Continued developments in sensor technologies and improved crop simulation models are two examples of future strategies that should allow the U.S. cotton industry to continue an upward trend in CWP.
Abstract.Over the last 40 years the amount of irrigation water used by cotton in the United States has decreased while yields have increased. Factors contributing to higher water productivity and decreased irrigation water use include migration of cotton out of the far western U.S. states to the east where more water requirements are met by rainfall; improved irrigation delivery systems with considerable variation in types and adoption rates across the U.S.; improved irrigation scheduling tools; improved genetics and knowledge of cotton physiology, and improved crop models that can help evaluate new irrigation strategies rapidly and inexpensively. The considerable progress over the last 40 years along with the promise of emerging technologies suggest that this progress will continue. Keywords: Cotton, Crop water productivity, Irrigation, Sustainability, Water use efficiency.