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Uvalde Center water research could have national, international applications
Date:3/24/2009

irrigators network have demonstrated opportunities for reducing irrigation use by 15 percent to 25 percent without reducing crop yield or quality, according to program researchers.

"The network was formed with the goal of saving millions of gallons of water annually by reducing irrigation water use by as much as 20 percent in the future," Holloway said. "We're well on the way to accomplishing that goal."

AgriLife Research scientists Dr. Diane Rowland and Dr. Daniel Leskovar provide leadership for the network.

Rowland said new program research will be expanded to include enhancements on weather data gathering capabilities, improved technology for taking seasonal root measurements and using sap flow to determine water use by different crop plants.

"There's also a real opportunity for growers to learn more about and adopt conservation tillage techniques," Rowland said. "Conservation tillage hasn't been very well established in this region, but it's a tremendous water-saving tool and the drought should convince farmers here and elsewhere in the U.S. that it's worth pursuing."

Rowland is also working on research related to alternative irrigation methods, including surface- and subsurface-drip irrigation, as well as the use of drag socks on pivot-irrigation systems.

"These will all have applications not only to this region, but to other regions in the U.S. and to other nations where there are similar soils, water sources and watering restrictions," she said.

Dr. Jason West, another of the center's AgriLife Research scientists, is an ecosystem ecologist studying the other end of the aquifer water balance equation. West is investigating range management methods to improve aquifer recharge, as well as ways to determine the nature and distinctiveness of aquifers.

"This includes investigating the relationships between water bodies in the South Central Texas area, particularly those which supply much of the
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Contact: Dr. John Holloway
jhollowa@ag.tamu.edu
830-278-9151
Texas A&M AgriLife Communications
Source:Eurekalert

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