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Surge Irrigation

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Surge Irrigation

Surface irrigation is not new technology, but through research and the incorporation of some inventive measures, advances in this area have provided the needed responses to make this type of irrigation increasingly appealing. Not only is water quality a major concern, but current farmers must now monitor water quality and provide adequate crop protection measures to insure a good yield. Water availability is affected by falling water tables, droughts and stressed by the increasing water demand of growing urban populations (Moody 1993). Likewise, local and federal governments create strict water utilization laws, limiting chemical concentrations of particular substances in surface waters throughout the nation. In addition to adhering to the aforementioned tasks, irrigators must correctly apply supplemental water such that the crop’s needs are also met without “over-application”.

The primary goals of any irrigation system are to minimize deep percolation of water and replenish soil water in the root zone along the entire field (Goldhammer 1987). Thus, to achieve effective water management, an irrigator should utilize the least amount of water needed to sustain profitable yield amounts. In addition, the major concerns of managing irrigation water are controlling runoff, decreasing deep percolation, providing sufficient drainage, and limiting energy and the associated labor costs.

For a small or medium sized operation with limited resources, labor and maintenance costs are important factors when selecting an irrigation system. A study conducted by Dr. Stephen H. Amosson (1995) compared six alternative irrigation systems (gated pipe, surge flow, side roll, high pressure pivot, low pressur...

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...s Department of the Interior.

Goldhammer, D.A., M.H. Alemi and R.C. Phene (1987) Surge vs. Continuous-Flow Irrigation. California Agriculture, September-October 1987.

Hill, R.W. and G. Stringham (1994) Surge Flow Irrigation: Automatic Surface Irrigation Demonstration for Summer Onion Tour. Cooperative Extension Service & Biological and Irrigation Engineering Department, Utah State University

Moody, V. (1993) The Benefits of Surge. Irrigation Journal, March 1993.

New, Leon (1995) Opportunities to Maximize the Utilization of Waters by Irrigators. Texas Agricultural Extension Service.

Varlev, I., Z. Popova, I. Gospodinov (1998) Furrow Surge Irrigation as a Water Saving Technique. Water and the Environment: Innovation in Irrigation and Drainage, 1st Inter-regional Conference Proceedings, Lisbon, Portugal, September 1998, pp-131-139.
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