Finding the balance: Comparing water, energy and emissions patterns for irrigation in surface and ground water dependent irrigation regions

Tamara Jackson, Shahbaz Khan, Muhammad Hafeez

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review

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Abstract

Competition among water users is placing increasing pressure on irrigated agriculture,making it necessary for irrigators to be accountable for their water consumption patterns. Oneoption for improving water use efficiency is by installing pressurised irrigation systems,which have potentially high water use efficiency (Batchelor, 1999; Zehnder et al., 2003; Lal,2004; Pratt Water, 2004). The shift to alternative irrigation methods has consequences notonly for the water use of the system, but also for energy consumption and hence greenhousegas emissions. The link between fossil energy use in agriculture and carbon emissions is wellestablished (Deike et al., 2008; Schneider and Smith, 2009). A balance between theimprovement in water use and the potential increase in energy consumption is required.Without the acknowledgement of this balance, improving irrigation efficiency to create watersavings could see irrigation areas increasing energy consumption and therefore escalatingtheir costs. The escalating costs will have a detrimental effect on profit and efficiency, whilesimultaneously increasing the environmental footprint of certain irrigation areas.This paper illustrates the different water and energy application patterns experienced byfarmers in a surface and ground water dependent area of Australia, and the emissionsassociated with this energy use. Finding the suitable balance between water application,energy consumption and associated emissions for a given situation will result in increasedwater productivity which also considers the energy costs and environmental implications interms of greenhouse gas emissions. This research is expected to provide valuable informationregarding future developments in the irrigation industry, and will provide benchmarks forpossible trade-offs between resource inputs and environmental effects.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOne Water Many Futures
Subtitle of host publicationIrrigation Australia
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherIrrigation Australia
Pages22
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventAustralian Irrigation Conference, Jointly run by Irrigation Australia and Irrigation Futures - Sydney, Australia
Duration: 08 Jun 201011 Jun 2010

Conference

ConferenceAustralian Irrigation Conference, Jointly run by Irrigation Australia and Irrigation Futures
Country/TerritoryAustralia
Period08/06/1011/06/10

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