Skip to comments.Drip Irrigation May Not Save Water, Analysis Finds
Posted on 11/24/2008 1:03:41 AM PST by neverdem
Dan Porges/Peter Arnold
In an effort to make irrigation more efficient to obtain more crop per drop farmers have adopted alternatives to flooding and other conventional methods. Among these is drip irrigation, shown above, in which water flows only to the roots. Drip systems are costly, but they save much water.
Or do they? A hydrologic and economic analysis of the Upper Rio Grande basin in the Southwest, published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that subsidies and other policies that encourage conservation methods like drip irrigation can actually increase water consumption.
The take-home message is that youd better take a pretty careful look at drip irrigation before you spend a bunch of money on subsidizing it, said Frank A. Ward, a resource economist at New Mexico State University and author of the study with Manuel Pulido-Velázquez of the Polytechnic University of Valencia in Spain.
With flood irrigation, much of the water is not used by the plants and seeps back to the source, an aquifer or a river. Drip irrigation draws less water, but almost all of it is taken up by the plants, so very little is returned. Those aquifers are not going to get recharged, Dr. Ward said.
Drip irrigation also generally increases crop yields, which encourages farmers to expand acreage and request the right to take even more water, thus depleting even more of it. The indirect effect is very possibly to undermine policy attempts to reduce water consumption, Dr. Ward said.
Policymakers, he added, must balance the need for more food and for farmers to make a living with water needs.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Thanks! That was my take on it as well, but I wanted an expert to weigh in, y’know, because I’ve been on a diet lately. ;’)
Now that I have said that, let me say that if the government would remove most of the restrictions on Nuclear power plants, we could build a series of small ones, such as are used in Naval vessels, anchor them securely along the coast and use them for water desalinization. If the greenies really had mankind's and the planet's welfare at heart they would be looking at things like that. With Nuke desalinization we would never need to worry about water and drought again.
The point is the left doesn't really care about the planet or the people on it, except for how they can control them. Restrictions are placed on us to control us and for no other reason. We need to start pushing back, hard.
One for you.
They should try “Brawndo” - it’s got Electrolytes. It’s what plants crave.
“Neither does my lameass shower head. Takes twice as long toshower and I cant find one without stupid water saver device.”
Check into the Commando 450.
Using up to seven gallons to flush a toilet just isnt necessary,
Taking 15 minutes in the shower isn't necessary, either. Do you have a proposal to address this issue?
This is just loony, circular logic. They note that drip irrigation fails to recharge the source while FAILING to note that it draws less water from the source to begin with! The article lost me right here. If the author or the study can't handle this simple concept, I have no faith in the rest of the work.
This is the kind of backward thinking that makes people want to spend money so they can get more back from their 5% reward. Yes, but you spent the 95%, idiot.
You're right DB about the increased yeilds with less water - who would object to that?
But what do you think about the "water not used by plants seeps" back into the aquifer? I mean, if it's not taken out in the first place, purified, transported etc., what's the problem with excess water not "seeping" back in? This is soooooo New York Times - they've probably never been closer to a farm than flying over one...
I imagine this author would have been ecstatic with an irrigation system that returns 100% of the drawn water back to the aquifer, with the hope that the water wishes the plants good fortune as it runs by the roots in nearby piping.
If you are having problems with low flow toilets I strongly recommend Toto brand toilets. We built a new home a couple of years ago and used Toto toilets throughout and have had zero problems whatsoever. In our old house we had nothing but problems with poor flushing low flow toilets. Constantly clogged... In that house we had to have a plunger next to each toilet at all times. I don’t even know where all the plungers are in the new house... They don’t get used anymore...
Low flow toilets that work well are available - though it took a really long time... It took computer simulations/design to finally get it right.
I’m sure you’re right, I have no complaints about their performance. My point was that the government has no right to impose such an arbitrary criteria on toilet design.
Don’t disagree with that.
Return to chemistry. Mix water with certain elements like sodium or chemicals like an acid anhydride. Wear safety goggles. Do it in a fume hood.
Thanks for the info. I’m not having trouble because mine are the old style, but should my ship come in and deposit sufficient cash to pay for a new house, I would have the problem.
Stressing resources and infrastructure for no reason is ridiculous, I live in Southern California where the government can make decisions about the gross waste of our imported water.
I will be glad to see the last of the old 7 gallon toilets and even the five gallon toilets gone.
Barbara Streisand pays almost $2000.00 a month for water, plumbing advances that can passively reduce that waste of our imported water is part of engineering advancement.
The government was making mandates on toilets long before the the limits on water usage.
All of these arguments could just as easily be applied to electricity and gasoline supplies, and the answer would be the same. Don't you agree?
“Sure it is, as is buying a car that gets 8 mpg”
That isn’t hurting government infrastructure, but the government does justifiably put limits on the weight that you put on the roads.
Plumbing is very much a regulated business and industry and has been for many centuries.
The fact that government has imposed itself into areas where it does not belong does not make it right.
“If individual flushes put a similar strain on the sewer system, you’d have a point. “
They do, by reducing the amount of water that has to be imported and the amount of waste water that has to be treated, it all helps preserve the infrastructure.
There are reasons why pipes (like roads) have to be replaced and that includes the use they receive, but a treatment plant for instance can really benefit from a sizable reduction of unnecessary input.
As a plumbing contractor I am well aware of how fascinated people are with their toilets, but are you aware that your refrigerator is much more regulated than your toilet? How about your stereo, or your TV, or your furnace, all manufactured to strict government electricity usage standards, electricity use is more of an issue with the government than water.