Conservation Matters July 2016

The Texas Land, Water and Wildlife Connection

South Texas irrigation manual published

By Kathy Wythe

South Texas irrigation manual published

Irrigation managers and producers in South Texas have a new resource available to help them improve irrigation management and water conservation.

South Texas Irrigation Training Program Manual,” a Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service publication, is available on the institute’s website.

“We have updated a previous manual to better meet the needs of the Lower Rio Grande Valley and to incorporate currently available and new educational materials into a convenient resource,” said Dr. Kevin Wagner, TWRI’s deputy director for engagement.

Wagner said the manual is a guide for producers on relevant methods of irrigation, their installation costs, water use efficiency and economic analysis.

“In an evaluation of agricultural producers’ educational needs, water quantity and practices to reduce water use ranked high,” he said. “Updating this manual to include current information tailored to the Lower Rio Grande Valley covers educational needs that producers voiced as highly important to them.”

The manual provides a core knowledge base, including irrigation fundamentals, irrigation technologies and best management practices, said Dr. Dana Porter, AgriLife Extension agricultural engineer in Lubbock.

“It provides a broad foundation of technical and practical considerations for irrigation equipment and management decisions,” she said.

Victor Gutierrez, AgriLife Extension assistant for TWRI in Weslaco, said the revised manual will be used in future irrigation training workshops in South Texas.

The irrigation manual is part of a larger effort by TWRI and others to alleviate water quality impairments in the Arroyo Colorado watershed in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

Its publication was made possible by funding and in-kind support from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board; Texas Water Development Board; U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service’s Ogallala Aquifer Program; TWRI; AgriLife Extension; Texas A&M AgriLife Research; and the Texas A&M University Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. This effort has also been a part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture REEport system that supports many state and federal Hatch projects.

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