iP Solutions announces the publication of “Precision Irrigation: A Method to Save Water and Energy While Increasing Crop Yield, a Targeted Approach for California Agriculture” by Gary Marks.
Crop irrigation requirements vary in time with weather and soil conditions. Precision
irrigation provides a means for evaluating a crop’s water requirements and a means for
applying the right amount at the right time. Often in the literature, precision irrigation is referred to as irrigation scheduling: That is scheduling based on environmental data, whether that data comes from local field sensors or from more global sources such as regional meteorological information.
Applying precision irrigation practices offers significant potential for saving water,
energy, and money. Further, it has the potential to increases crop yield. There is an
additional positive environmental impact from precision irrigation in that farm runoff, a major source of water pollution, can be reduced.
While precision irrigation has value for all types of irrigation in any region of the world, this paper focuses on the irrigation of California agriculture, which uses nearly 80% of the state’s water and more than ten billion Kilowatt hours of electricity annually. That is enough electricity to power one million typical American households each year. The approximate power plant capacity required to power California irrigation through the months of May through October is 2500 MW, which is equivalent to 250 Min-Nuke power plants running at an average of 10MW each. The carbon footprint associated
with the power is approximately six million metric tons of CO2 per year.