Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Journal topic

Journal metrics

IF value: 5.153
IF5.153
IF 5-year value: 5.460
IF 5-year
5.460
CiteScore value: 7.8
CiteScore
7.8
SNIP value: 1.623
SNIP1.623
IPP value: 4.91
IPP4.91
SJR value: 2.092
SJR2.092
Scimago H <br class='widget-line-break'>index value: 123
Scimago H
index
123
h5-index value: 65
h5-index65
Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-135
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-135
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  16 Apr 2020

16 Apr 2020

Review status
A revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal HESS and is expected to appear here in due course.

Interplay of changing irrigation technologies and water reuse: Example from the Upper Snake River Basin, Idaho, USA

Shan Zuidema1, Danielle Grogan1, Alexander Prusevich1, Richard Lammers1, Sarah Gilmore2, and Paula Williams2 Shan Zuidema et al.
  • 1Earth System Research Center, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, 03824, USA
  • 2Center for Resilient Communities, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID, 83844, USA

Abstract. Careful allotment of water resources for irrigation is critical to ensuring the resiliency of agriculture in semi-arid regions, and modernizing irrigation technology to minimize inefficient losses is an important tool for farmers and agricultural economies. While modernizing irrigation technology can achieve reductions in non-beneficial use of water such as bare soil evaporation, non-consumptive losses or water returned back to the landscape are also reduced, often eliminating flowpaths that other users rely on. In basins using a combination of surface and groundwater, replenishing aquifer storage by the managed aquifer recharge (MAR) of seasonally available water can mitigate the aquifer drawdown that results from reduced recharge when irrigation efficiency is improved. We examine the effects of MAR on the system-scale efficiency of modernizing irrigation technology and the resulting changes to the reuse of non-consumptive losses using a macro-scale hydrologic model applied to the semi-arid Upper Snake River Basin (USRB) of western Wyoming and southern Idaho, USA. Irrigation technologies were represented explicitly in the model, and available data informed baseline parameterizations of irrigation technology. A suite of parameterizations were simulated that updated existing technologies to be more efficient, both with and without sufficient MAR to cause stabilization of the aquifer at present-day head. As expected, simulated changes to irrigation technology resulted in greater downstream export of pristine water and a higher rate of aquifer drawdown when MAR was not simulated. Under current water use and cropping patterns, we were not able to simulate aquifer stabilization and maintain discharge downstream at any level of irrigation efficiency. We found support for the hypothesis that as efficiency improves, less MAR is required to maintain a stable aquifer than returns flows are reduced due to increased efficiency. To evaluate the hypothesis, we defined the management benefit as a metric that compared the difference between the change in irrigation’s net recharge from the change in MAR required as irrigation technology became more efficient. The metric generally indicated that less MAR was needed than net recharge was lost, but only for the most efficient case did the management benefit exceed the MAR needed at baseline to stabilize the aquifer. Increasing efficiency of irrigation technology reduced reuse, the gross irrigation derived from prior non-consumptive losses, but simulating MAR increased reuse for a given parameterization, leading to higher effective irrigation efficiency. We find that local groundwater storage that users depend on is generally more sensitive to management decisions than downstream flows, and drawdown of the aquifer without MAR always exceeded any decrease in discharge induced by MAR. Improving resource sufficiency in semi-arid systems like the USRB will require an array of solutions that will necessarily weigh benefits to local and downstream users.

Shan Zuidema et al.

Interactive discussion

Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement

Interactive discussion

Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement

Shan Zuidema et al.

Shan Zuidema et al.

Viewed

Total article views: 298 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total Supplement BibTeX EndNote
223 65 10 298 22 11 11
  • HTML: 223
  • PDF: 65
  • XML: 10
  • Total: 298
  • Supplement: 22
  • BibTeX: 11
  • EndNote: 11
Views and downloads (calculated since 16 Apr 2020)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 16 Apr 2020)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 207 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 207 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
1
 
 
 
 

Cited

Saved

No saved metrics found.

Discussed

No discussed metrics found.
Latest update: 28 Sep 2020
Publications Copernicus
Download
Short summary
In our case study we find that increasing the efficiency of irrigation technology will have unintended consequences by reducing water available for aquifer replenishment or for other irrigators. The amount of water needed to stabilize regional aquifers exceeds the amount that could be saved by improving irrigation efficiency. Since users depend upon local groundwater storage, which is more sensitive to management decisions than river flow, co-management of surface and groundwater is critical.
In our case study we find that increasing the efficiency of irrigation technology will have...
Citation