New irrigation technologies and strategies reduce groundwater pumping and increase efficiency
By Yi Wang, potato physiologist, and Howard Neibling, water management engineering specialist, Kimberly R&E Center, University of Idaho
When growing potatoes, water management is always important. Growers had to carefully schedule their irrigation to meet the increased evapotranspiration (ET) demand during a hot nine-day period in late June and early July of 2015 in southern Idaho.
In addition to that, early in that year, they were asked to reduce their groundwater pumping by 12-14 percent to help stabilize the declining Eastern Snake River Plain Aquifer. This is affecting about 1 million irrigated acres in southern and eastern Idaho.
“It needs some work to manage it,” a grower said. There are various ways that people have suggested to increase water use efficiency and prepare for the upcoming reduction in ground water pumping.