Management of furrow irrigation to improve water use efficiency and sustain the groundwater resource – preliminary results from a case study in the Burdekin delta.

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Year Published: 2003
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Author: Klok, K. A. ; Charlesworth, P. B. ; Ham, G. J. ; Bristow, K. L.
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Abstract:

The Burdekin delta region in Queensland, Australia, depends on groundwater for irrigation and urban supply. Therefore, any adverse impacts on the groundwater resource are undesirable. Field studies were implemented to improve knowledge and understanding of impacts of current and modified irrigation management practices on crop water use, productivity and long-term sustainability of the Burdekin delta groundwater system. Field trials were established on six sites representing different soil types of the delta comparing conventional (CONV) and best management practice (BMP) irrigation systems. The BMP applied was site specific, and was determined by consultation with BSES extension officers and the individual grower. Sites were instrumented to measure irrigation application, crop water use and the quality of water draining beneath sugarcane crops. Preliminary results highlighted that BMP irrigation reduced the amount of water applied to each treatment by an average of 15%. BMP irrigation practice increased yields on three of the six sites by approximately 6%. Three of the six sites have nitrate-nitrogen values above the ANZECC long-term trigger value of 5 mg/litre. There were differing trends in nitrate-nitrogen movement throughout the season, with evidence that nitrate-nitrogen movement is greatest shortly after fertilizer application.

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Keywords:

deltas, environmental impact, furrow irrigation,groundwater, irrigation systems, irrigation water, leaching, nitratenitrogen, plant water relations, productivity, sustainability, watermanagement, water quality, water supply, water use, water useefficiency, Australia, Queensland, Australasia, Oceania, DevelopedCountries, Commonwealth of Nations, OECD Countries, Australia, deltaicareas, environmental effects, river deltas, water composition andquality, water resource management, water supplies, Natural ResourceEconomics (EE115) (New March 2000), Plant Water Relations (FF062), SoilWater Management (Irrigation and Drainage) (JJ800) (Revised June 2002)[formerly Soil Water Management], Water Resources (PP200)

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