Increasing water use efficiency for crop production: An approach of soil-plant water relations
- View All
The 50-year projections of statewide water supply and demand by the Texas Water Development Board indicate a steadyincreased demand and steady declining water supply from 2010 to 2060. As agriculture is the biggest consumptive user of freshwater (accounting for 80-90% of national water use), the society naturally expects the scientific community to provide solutionsand suggestions for improving crop production while preventing excessive ground water consumption for irrigation. The aim ofthis project is to identify opportunities for saving irrigation water through studying soils and physiological characteristics and processes of selected row crops in the Wintergarden region of southern Texas.We plan to collect field-scale information of crop growth characteristics and relate this to models of crop evapotranspiration andgrowth. Our hypothesis is that there are significant opportunities for saving irrigation water without sacrificing the profits from crop production. These could be brought about through adopting various managemnt strategies, including the use of crop varieties with deeper root growth, more efficient canopy architecture, conservation tillage and deficit irrigation, etc. We hope to quantify how much water can be saved through changes in crop management. As our research will be conducted at the field scale, the results and findings will have significant impact on sustainable irrigation water use by regional growers.