Sustainable irrigation agriculture is required to provide much-needed food and fibre but is threatened by reduced water supply and increasing competition for environmental needs and urban and industrial water demand. Policy on water allocation often pits the needs of irrigation against competitive demands. This chapter explores innovative options for avoiding or mitigating this conflict. Examples include: the strategic location of forestry to minimise interception of water in the landscape; investment in infrastructure to provide environmental benefits with minimal use of more water; reducing water loss by optimising river operations; use of water sharing agreements to provide greater certainty to irrigators and investors; market-based trading arrangements to provide flexibility to irrigators to deal with water scarcity and climate variability; improved water use efficiency both on farm and in water supply and delivery systems; and more efficient water use and re-use in cities and industry. The water cycle and water auditing provide the biophysical context for developing options by governments, policy makers and communities as they adapt to change. Processes of public participation remain a challenge but good progress is being made.
|Title of host publication||Drinking water and water management|
|Subtitle of host publication||New research|
|Place of Publication||New York|
|Publisher||Nova Science Publishers|
|Number of pages||44|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|
Bowmer, K., & Meyer, W. S. (2014). Irrigation agriculture: Sustainability through holistic approaches to water use and innovation. In M. Giannino (Ed.), Drinking water and water management: New research (1st ed., pp. 181-224). Nova Science Publishers.