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Economic Research Service

U.S. Department of Agriculture


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Economic Research Service 

U.S. Department of  Agriculture

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A New Era for Irrigation

Description: "Irrigated agriculture has played a critical role in the economic and social development of the United States--but it is also at the root of increasing controversy. How can irrigation best make the transition into an era of increasing water scarcity? In A New Era for Irrigation, experts draw important conclusions about whether irrigation can continue to be the nation's most significant water user, what role the federal government should play, and what the irrigation industry must do to adapt to the conditions of the future. A New Era for Irrigation provides data, examples, and insightful commentary on issues such as: Growing competition for water resources. Developments in technology and science. The role of federal subsidies for crops and water. Uncertainties related to American Indian water rights issues. Concern about environmental problems. And more". 

Contents: 1. The future of irrigation.  2.  The culture of irrigation.  3. Irrigation today.  4. Forces of change and responses.  5.  The irrigation industry: patterns of change and response.  6. Future directions.  Appendix a biographical sketches of committee members.  Appendix b acknowledgments. Appendix c glossary.  Index.

Author: Committee on the Future of Irrigation in the Face of Competing Demands, National Research Council (USA).  216 pages,1996.

Publisher: National Academy Press.


Irrigation in the American West Area, Water and Economic Activity

Abstract: "Irrigation is the defining characteristic of crop production in the American West. Irrigated agriculture uses the most freshwater (90 percent) of any economic sector in the West. Surface-water sources such as streams, rivers, and lakes provide 68 percent of withdrawals while the remaining 32 percent are obtained from groundwater sources. According to the 1997 Census of Agriculture, 43 million acres of agricultural land were irrigated in the West, and these lands produced 72 percent of crop sales on only 27 percent of the total harvested crop acreage".

Authors: Noel Gollehon and William Quinby.

Source:  Economic Research Service. U.S. Department of  Agriculture.  (ERS Elsewhere No. 0004, June 2000).


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