South Texas agricultural irrigators have a new resource available to help them improve irrigation management and water conservation, according to a Texas Water Resources Institute official.
The “South Texas Irrigation Training Program Manual,” a publication of the institute and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, is available here.
“We have updated a previous manual to better meet the needs of the Lower Rio Grande Valley and to incorporate currently available and new educational materials into a convenient resource,” said Dr. Kevin Wagner, the institute’s deputy director for engagement in College Station.
Wagner said the manual is a guide for agricultural producers on relevant methods of irrigation, their installation costs, water use efficiency and economic analysis.
“In an evaluation of agricultural producers’ educational needs, we found that water quantity and practices to reduce water use ranked high,” he said. “Updating this manual to include current information tailored to the Valley covers educational needs that producers said were highly important to them.”
The manual provides core knowledge, including irrigation fundamentals, irrigation technologies and best management practices, said Dr. Dana Porter, AgriLife Extension agricultural engineer in Lubbock.
“It provides a broad foundation of technical and practical considerations for irrigation equipment and management decisions,” she said.
Victor Gutierrez, AgriLife Extension assistant for the institute in Weslaco, said the revised manual will be used in future irrigation training workshops in South Texas.
“The manual will serve as the curriculum for experts to present on priority topics,” he said.
The institute is part of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, AgriLife Extension and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University.
The irrigation manual is part of a larger effort by the institute and others to alleviate water quality impairments in the Arroyo Colorado watershed in the Valley.
Its publication was made possible by funding and in-kind support from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board; Texas Water Development Board; U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service’s Ogallala Aquifer Program; Texas Water Resources Institute; AgriLife Extension; AgriLife Research; and the Texas A&M University department of biological and agricultural engineering.
This effort has also been a part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Research, Education and Extension Project Online Reporting Tool (REEport) system that supports many state and federal Hatch Act projects.
For more information contact Gutierrez at 956-969-5615 or Victor.Gutierrez@ag.tamu.edu.