Opportunities and Constraints to Irrigation District and Individual Grower Investment in Water Conservation Under Reclamation Projectstitle has not been entered yet

Project ID: 1144
Principal Investigator: Thayne Coulter
Research Topic: Supporting Irrigation Districts
Funded Fiscal Years: 2004
Keywords: None

Research Question

How much have irrigation districts and irrigators actually invested in water conservation under Reclamation projects?

What are some of the key factors that influence their willingness to invest in water conservation?

What hinders and helps the technology transfer of improved water conservation practices and canal and irrigation modernization?

Need and Benefit

What factors hinder and help the willingness of irrigation districts and irrigators to invest in water conservation?

Is there a link between: (1) the willingness of irrigators to invest in onfarm water conservation (i.e., below the farm headgate) and (2) the management and resources available to irrigation districts (i.e., above the farm headgate)?

If this linkage exists, what can be done about it and how can federally sponsored onfarm water conservation and canal modernization programs best address it?

These are some of the key questions that require Reclamation's historical mission to bridge across the farm headgate to the farm level, as is being accomplished through the Bridging the Headgate program. Many factors may contribute to different irrigation district and onfarm conservation investment levels, including local markets and commodity prices, poorly managed or unreliable water supplies from the irrigation district, adverse urban encroachment onto the irrigation district canal systems and the resulting disruption in canal management, and the feeling of impermanence irrigators may have about their future production opportunities.

Other important factors include the availability and administration of Federal cost-share and grant programs to assist irrigators and their irrigation districts and water transfers out of agriculture in Reclamation's supplemental water supply projects and the impact these transfers may have on canal management, etc. These linkages need to be researched and better understood, so that technology transfer programs, such as Reclamations canal modernization and water conservation efforts, can achieve better results.

The fiscal year (FY) 2003 research began to document the level of investment irrigators are making in water conservation. This was followed in FY 2004 by an investigation of the level and various kinds of investment expenditures being made by irrigation districts to improve water conservation. The Science and Technology (S&T) Program's mission is to understand the context of social and economic problems surrounding its mission delivery system. The research attempts to better understand this social context. S&T's performance measures are to ensure that research conducted by S&T contributes to policy formation, assistance to clients (irrigation districts), and better designed technology transfer delivery systems.

The research is designed to identify social and management problems and issues that hinder the sustainability of Reclamation irrigation facilities. The research is expected to meet Reclamation's Strategic Plan mission goal of increasing and facilitating water use efficiency, as well as meeting water conservation provisions of the Reclamation Reform Act of 1982.

Contributing Partners

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Research Products

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Last Updated: 4/4/17