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Strategies for reducing subsurface drainage in irrigated agriculture through improved irrigation


The traditional approach ofinstalling subsurface drainage systems tosolve shallow ground water problems is notfeasible along the west side of the SanJoaquin Valley of California because of thelack of drain water disposal methods thatare economical, technically feasible, andenvironmentally friendly. Thus, optionssuch as drainage reduction through improvedirrigation and drain water reuse are beingexamined as methods for coping with thesubsurface drainage problem. This paperdiscusses options for reducing subsurfacedrainage through improved irrigationpractices. Options are discussed forimproving irrigation system design such asupgrading existing irrigation methods andconverting to systems with higher potentialirrigation efficiencies. Methods forimproving water management are alsopresented. Case studies on upgradingexisting systems or converting to otherirrigation methods are presented along with study results of the effect of variouspolicies on reducing subsurface drainage.

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Hanson, B.R., Ayars, J.E. Strategies for reducing subsurface drainage in irrigated agriculture through improved irrigation. Irrigation and Drainage Systems 16, 261–277 (2002).

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  • irrigation
  • salinity
  • subsurface drainage
  • water management