Environmental Management

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 302–313 | Cite as

An Ecologically-Sustainable Surface Water Withdrawal Framework for Cropland Irrigation: A Case Study in Alabama

  • Puneet SrivastavaEmail author
  • Anand K. Gupta
  • Latif Kalin


Agricultural production in the state of Alabama, USA, is mostly rain-fed, because of which it is vulnerable to drought during growing season. Since Alabama receives a significant portion of its annual precipitation during winter months, the goal of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of water withdrawal from streams during winter months for irrigation in the growing season. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) was used to estimate the quantity of water that can be sustainably withdrawn from streams during winter high flow periods. The model was successfully calibrated and validated for surface runoff, base flow, and total stream flow. The stream flows generated by the model at several locations within the watershed were then used to examine how much water can be sustainably withdrawn from streams of various orders (first, second and third). Although there was a considerable year-to-year variability in the amount of water that can be withdrawn, a 16-year average showed that first, second, and third order streams can irrigate about 11.6, 10.3, and 10.6% of their drainage areas, respectively. The percentage of drainage area that can be irrigated was not a function of stream order.


Surface water withdrawal Irrigation Ecological-sustainability Modeling SWAT 



The authors wish to acknowledge the funding provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) to explore the possibility of increasing irrigation in the state of Alabama, U.S.A. We would also like to thank Dr. Prabhakar Clement, Professor, Civil Engineering, Auburn University, Auburn, AL for his constructive comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Puneet Srivastava
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anand K. Gupta
    • 1
  • Latif Kalin
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biosystems EngineeringAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA
  2. 2.School of Forestry and Wildlife SciencesAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA

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