Charles P. West1, C. P. Brown1, R. L. Kellison1, D. M. Mitchell1, P. N. Johnson1 and W. J. Pate2, (1)Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX (2)Texas AgriLife Extension, Lubbock, TX
The Texas Alliance for Water Conservation (TAWC) is a producer-led initiative to adopt efficient irrigation practices for the purpose of prolonging the usable life of the Ogallala Aquifer. We summarize 10 years of intense data collection on 29 commercial fields, demonstrations, and education toward increasing crop efficiently of irrigation. Shifting to more-efficient irrigation methods, scheduling of irrigation based on evapotranspiration, and diversification of crop species has resulted in more applied water reaching the root zone and less evaporation losses. We demonstrated effectiveness of improved irrigation equipment and monitors of soil moisture and crop stress to optimize timing and amount of irrigation. We identified 12 sites which attained relatively high gross return per acre ($300 or more) and low annual irrigation (15 inches or less). Outreach programs reached over 10,000 people with information useful for greater conservation of groundwater while maintaining profitability.