Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Drip Irrigation May Not Save Water, Analysis Finds
NY Times ^ | November 18, 2008 | HENRY FOUNTAIN

Posted on 11/24/2008 1:03:41 AM PST by neverdem


Dan Porges/Peter Arnold

Observatory

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 you’d 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 ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: agriculture; dripirrigation; hydrology; science; water
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-5051-63 last
To: BMiles2112

Read #50.

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.


51 posted on 11/24/2008 8:05:48 PM PST by DB
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies]

To: DB

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.


52 posted on 11/24/2008 8:15:10 PM PST by BMiles2112
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 51 | View Replies]

To: BMiles2112

Don’t disagree with that.


53 posted on 11/24/2008 8:22:40 PM PST by DB
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 52 | View Replies]

To: thinking
Now hear this!! now hear this!!....water can not be “üsed” or destroyed...water will evaporate and rise in the sky, until it condensates and eventually to return to earth as rain....

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.

54 posted on 11/24/2008 9:17:33 PM PST by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: DB

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.


55 posted on 11/25/2008 1:49:46 AM PST by wita
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 50 | View Replies]

To: BMiles2112

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.


56 posted on 11/25/2008 9:32:32 AM PST by ansel12 ( When a conservative pundit mocks Wasilla, he's mocking conservatism as it's actually lived.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies]

To: ansel12
Stressing resources and infrastructure for no reason is ridiculous,
Sure it is, as is buying a car that gets 8 mpg. Who are we to say citizens don't have the right to make ridiculous decisions, so long as they are paying for them? Using your Babs example, if she's paying $2000/month (of her own money) for her water what do you care what she does with it? Unless you have reason to believe that her waste is subsidized by you as a taxpayer, what difference does it make to you?

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?

57 posted on 11/25/2008 10:00:27 AM PST by BMiles2112
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 56 | View Replies]

To: BMiles2112

“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.


58 posted on 11/25/2008 10:06:22 AM PST by ansel12 ( When a conservative pundit mocks Wasilla, he's mocking conservatism as it's actually lived.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 57 | View Replies]

To: ansel12
but the government does justifiably put limits on the weight that you put on the roads.
This is a limit on individual vehicles due to the disproportionate amount of damage that a single heavy vehicle can do to the roads. If individual flushes put a similar strain on the sewer system, you'd have a point. They don't. The reason for it was to lower the overall amount of water being pushed through the system. If a municipal system is strained by increasing demands forcing infrastructure improvements, the price/gallon of water should reflect these costs.

The fact that government has imposed itself into areas where it does not belong does not make it right.

59 posted on 11/25/2008 10:28:35 AM PST by BMiles2112
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 58 | View Replies]

To: BMiles2112

“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.


60 posted on 11/25/2008 10:55:47 AM PST by ansel12 ( When a conservative pundit mocks Wasilla, he's mocking conservatism as it's actually lived.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 59 | View Replies]

To: ansel12
Your point is that government mandated conservation has encouraged conservation. I agree. My point in all of this has been that the government should remove itself from arbitrarily regulating markets where it need not regulate. If this had been an article about government forcing more stringent electricity limitations on refrigerators, I would have made the same fundamental arguments.
61 posted on 11/25/2008 11:29:37 AM PST by BMiles2112
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 60 | View Replies]

To: BMiles2112

You don’t know my point, my post was in response to post 16, water exists on the planet and will stay constant in that way, but that has nothing to do with water regionally, or nationally, or locally, or much of anything else, or in the design of mechanical devices that use water.

By the way I suppose everyone supports the government getting involved in the design of ballcocks, that is something related to toilets that I definitely wanted government to involve itself in and they did.


62 posted on 11/25/2008 1:31:21 PM PST by ansel12 ( When a conservative pundit mocks Wasilla, he's mocking conservatism as it's actually lived.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 61 | View Replies]

Scientists Show That Vegetation Conditions Drive The North Africa Drought
ScienceDaily
November 24, 1999
Adapted from materials from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
William Lau, a Goddard Space Flight Center (Greenbelt, Md.) atmospheric scientist... along with UCLA atmospheric scientists Ning Zeng and David Neelin, found that the addition of vegetation to climate computer models proved to be the missing link in what was driving the drought... changing sea surface temperatures couldn't account for much of the drought at all... another factor -- soil moisture -- ...was only enough to account for a drought half as severe as what actually happened in the Sahel. Finally, the team added natural vegetation to the model and found that the natural vegetation interacts significantly with climate, and in the case of the Sahel drought, caused enhanced drying... Also, since plants transpire by losing water through their leaves, less vegetation decreases humidity. The loss of a direct moisture supply means less rainfall, which causes weaker circulation, dampening the monsoon season... Lau said that the new model including natural vegetation changes is a much better reflection of what the Sahel region actually experienced. And it suggests that without the addition of man-made landscape changes, the climate system is fully capable of generating this devastating type of drought.

63 posted on 12/06/2008 7:02:51 AM PST by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/_______Profile finally updated Saturday, December 6, 2008 !!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-5051-63 last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson