Factors affecting the economic benefits of sprinkler uniformity and their implications for irrigation water use

Donna Brennan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Adoption of more uniform sprinkler systems involves a trade off between increased capital expenditure on equipment and the benefits associated with reduced water application when application is uniform. An empirical analysis of the economics of lettuce production, grown using sprinkler systems under the windy conditions of the Swan Coastal plain in Western Australia is presented, where the yield response to water exhibits eventual declining marginal productivity. A range of sprinkler designs that have been field-tested for performance were examined. The optimal per-crop water application for the least efficient system was up to double the application rate of the most efficient system. However, the economic analysis demonstrates that there are clear incentives for adopting more water-efficient systems despite the higher capital cost, because of the yield depressing effect of over-watering. Sensitivity analysis demonstrates substantially poorer incentives for improving irrigation efficiency when yield relationships follow a Mitscherlich functional form.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)109-119
    JournalIrrigation Science
    Volume26
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

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