Efficient Water Utilization through Management and Engineering Design
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This project focuses on the efficient use of water resources in Texas and the Texas High Plains (THP). The Ogallala Aquifer is the major water-bearing formation in the THP with approximately 95% of the water pumped used for irrigation. Recharge is minimal. Available Ogallala Aquifer water has declined by greater than 50% since the mid 1940's due to increased irrigated crop production, (Konikow, 2013). The Llano Estacado Regional Water Planning Group (LERWPG) estimates a population increase with associated increases in water demand for residential, manufacturing, and livestock use within its 21 counties by 2070 (LERWPG, 2015). This increase will be at the expense of irrigated agriculture even though irrigated production is forecast to remain the cornerstone of the region's economy. To moderate the effects of the declining water table, the predominant strategy of the LERWPG is to increase irrigation efficiency (LERWPG, 2015). This can only be achieved by taking full advantage of the region's climate, soils, and rainfall, and by distributing irrigation water with well-managed, efficient systems. The proposed field research will address questions concerning the economic allocation of limited water resources in this semi-arid region thereby improving the adoption and management of the most efficient delivery systems available to the agricultural community.