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A white, oval shape logo, with the title WaterShare centered in green letters.  There is a blue drop of water and the title.

A blue banner with yellow letters stating Managing Water on the Farm

The idealized farm shown here illustrates the three basic irrigation methods:

A watercolor of an agricultural field divided into three sections.  Each section of the field is being irrigated in a different way.  Brown mountains are pictured in the background.

What You Will Learn:

  • How each application method works -- operations
  • When it works well -- best management practices
  • What the costs and benefits are -- economics

Keep in mind that there is no one best irrigation method for all conditions. Any method can work efficiently if it is appropriate to the circumstances, well designed, and diligently maintained. In all cases, the proper application amount equals the water required by the crop, plus the water needed to prevent the build-up of harmful minerals in the soil through a process called leaching.

Water, like any other developed resource, comes at a cost even as it provides benefits. Agriculture, like other business, seeks to minimize costs while maximizing benefits. Good irrigation management can shift environmental effects from the cost side to the benefit side of the economic ledger while improving farm operations at the same time. A win-win solution.

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