Surface Irrigation Technology Saves Water, Money

Taylor Hillman Field & Row Crops, Technology, Water

Surface Irrigation
Technology is helping surface irrigation become more efficient but it also helps in other areas like reducing labor costs.

Automation Saves Water, Money

Saving More Than Water

Irrigation experts are trying to further the efficiency of surface irrigation by having the systems turn on and off by themselves. Cooperative Extension Irrigation Advisor Khaled Bali says that technology also helps growers with another issue, labor costs. “We’ve been working for the last few years on automation of surface irrigation systems,” Bali says. “This is typically used to conserve water but another important factor is labor. There is a lot of labor when it comes to surface irrigation. With automation you can conserve water and at the same time have significant labor savings.”

Labor Challenges and Rising Cost

Bali says labor is thin anyways and to have the proper people in those positions to manage water is a challenge and expensive. “To have qualified irrigators is really hard and difficult. It takes a lot of years for them to understand and to have the training to manage surface irrigation,” Bali says. “By reducing the labor requirements you can conserve lots of money. As you know with the minimum wage going up, that’s going to be a significant cost and with automation you can save a lot of money.”