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Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  701P0304,  . (doi: 10.13031/2013.15719)
Authors:   B.R. Hanson, D.M. May
Keywords:   Irrigation, salinity, shallow groundwater, drip irrigation

No economically, technically, and environmentally feasible drain water disposal method exists for the San Joaquin Valley of California. Thus, the drainage problem of the valley must be addressed through options such as better management of irrigation water to reduce percolation below the root zone, increasing crop water use of the shallow groundwater without any yield reductions, and drainage water reuse for irrigation. One option for improving irrigation water management is to convert from furrow or sprinkler irrigation to drip irrigation. Results of three field-wide comparisons showed yield increases of 12.90 Mg/ha to 22.62 Mg/ha for drip irrigation compared to the sprinkler irrigation with similar amounts of applied water. Solids content of the drip-irrigated processing tomato were acceptable. Response of water table levels during drip irrigation showed that properly managed drip systems could reduce drainage below the root zone. Yields of the drip systems were similar over a range of soil salinity levels in the soil profile. An additional experiment consisting of a worst case scenario of a very shallow ground water and excessive levels of soil salinity showed high tomato yields under drip irrigation with minimal drainage to the shallow ground water and adequate control of salts in the root zone.

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