Increasing the amount of food produced per unit of irrigation water is an important objective of agricultural research. Moving forward, ever expanding demands for limited water resources from all sectors of the economy are likely to drive up the cost of water, and approaches that maximize the efficiency of crop irrigation systems are required. Therefore, it is critical that irrigation water be used in the most productive way possible and that non-productive losses of water, such as soil evaporation, are minimized. This project aims to develop a new approach to assess the efficacy of irrigation schemes so that non-productive water losses can be quantified and reduced.
We are working at the Oregon State University Hermiston Agricultural Research & Extension Station and with local producers to develop new geochemical techniques for assessing the efficiency of irrigation systems. This project is funded by the Oregon State Agricultural Research Foundation.