Trends in the surface irrigation systems in the Australian irrigated agriculture

Paper


Koech, R. K.. 2011. "Trends in the surface irrigation systems in the Australian irrigated agriculture." Banhazi, T., Saunders, C. and Hegarty, R. (ed.) SEAg 2011: Diverse Challenges, Innovative Solutions. Gold Coast, Australia 29 - 30 Sep 2011 Canberra, Australia.
Paper/Presentation Title

Trends in the surface irrigation systems in the Australian irrigated agriculture

Presentation TypePaper
Authors
AuthorKoech, R. K.
EditorsBanhazi, T., Saunders, C. and Hegarty, R.
Journal or Proceedings TitleProceedings of the Biennial Conference of the Australian Society for Engineering in Agriculture (SEAg 2011)
Number of Pages8
Year2011
Place of PublicationCanberra, Australia
ISBN9780858259829
Web Address (URL) of Paperhttp://www.engineersaustralia.org.au/society-engineering-agriculture/seag-conference-2011
Conference/EventSEAg 2011: Diverse Challenges, Innovative Solutions
Event Details
SEAg 2011: Diverse Challenges, Innovative Solutions
Event Date
29 to end of 30 Sep 2011
Event Location
Gold Coast, Australia
Abstract

Surface irrigation methods are simple, mostly gravity driven and therefore have lower energy requirements. However, these systems are often seen as being inefficient both in labour and water usage. As the competition for the scarce water resources and greater emphasis on environmental conservation gain ground, more focus has been directed towards surface systems. On the one hand, some irrigators have converted to pressurised systems which are seen to be more water efficient. This is reflected in the decline of 28% of the proportion of irrigated land in Australia under surface irrigation in the last two decades and a decrease from 30 to 19% in the proportion of agricultural establishments using the system between 2002 and 2009. This trend has been corroborated by data obtained from US irrigation surveys. On the other hand, the surface system has experienced improvements ranging from upgrades of physical irrigation infrastructure and hardware to advanced management practices including computer simulation modelling. There are also emerging concepts and on-going research in surface systems that have the possibility to confer significant benefits to the users of these systems. Conversion of the irrigated land from surface to pressurised systems and the decline of the proportion of the irrigators using the system is expected to continue into the future. However the surface system will nonetheless remain important. Selected crops such as rice require to be grown using surface methods. There is also a chance that the rising energy costs might curtail the adoption of pressurised systems.

Keywordsirrigation statistics; surface irrigation methods; improvements
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020300299. Agriculture, land and farm management not elsewhere classified
300201. Agricultural hydrology
400513. Water resources engineering
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Byline AffiliationsNational Centre for Engineering in Agriculture
University of South Australia
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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