Development of management guidelines for efficient irrigation of basins on sandy soils

Charles A. Sanchez, Dawit Zerihun, Theodor S. Strelkoff, Albert J. Clemmens, Kathryn L. Farrell-Poe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Level and graded-basins are widely used to irrigate citrus (Citrus sp.) and alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) crops grown on sandy soils of the Yuma Mesa Irrigation and Draniange Districts (YMIDDs) of southwestern Arizona. Historically, irrigation application efficiencies in the YMIDDs have been low (generally <40%). Owing to rising demands for water from urban and industrial interests and heightened water quality concerns, raising irrigation efficiencies have become a high priority in the Lower Colorado River Region. Thus, the objective of this study is to develop a management package (management tools and guidelines) for increased irrigation performance of basins in the YMIDDs. The study consists of field experimentation, modeling (model calibration, model verification, and the development of management tools by simulation), and outreach-educational components. Results show higher application efficiencies (Ea) and distribution uniformities (DU) can be obtained in level and graded-basins through the proper selection of unit inlet flow rate (qo) and cutoff length (Lco) or cutoff time (tco). In addition, for the relatively small net irrigation requirements and long basisn of the YMIDDs, higher application efficiencies are obtained with level basins compared to graded-basins. Since implementation of the proposed management tools does not require reconfiguration of the physical infrastructure, it has the potential to be smoothly adopted by growers. Finally, some aspects of an on-going outreach program are highlighted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-224
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Engineering in Agriculture
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2008


  • Irrigation
  • Irrigation efficiency
  • Irrigation management
  • Irrigation systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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