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ITRC Paper No. P 11-007.  Charles M. Burt

Drip Irrigation System Cost Sharing by Irrigation Districts for Water Conservation

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Government and irrigation district cost sharing programs have often included financial support for the installation of drip/micro irrigation systems.  These programs seek advantages that might include improved crop yield, less applied water, and a reduction in subsurface drainage water and surface tailwater.  They may also seek to reduce water consumption.  The actual results have been shown to vary by district, hydrology, and crop. 
It is true that drip systems in California, on average, have good Distribution Uniformities (DU) of irrigation water – meaning that there are only minor differences between the depths of water received by various plants throughout a field.  However, irrigation district cost sharing programs could obtain even better results by requiring specific attributes and equipment in the drip/micro systems that receive financial assistance.  Items such as properly placed flow meters, excellent filtration, new system DU, good fertigation systems, efficient pumps, and maximum allowable pressure requirements at the pump are all easy to specify, do not add significant cost, and will improve initial performance and later management options.


Burt, C.M. 2011. Drip Irrigation System Cost Sharing by Irrigation Districts for Water Conservation. USCID Conference. 12 pp.

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