Economic and wateruse impacts of irrigation in norhtern Alabama
Bose, Aaron John
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Irrigation has allowed for the expansion of agriculture worldwide; this has led to the need for greater management of water resources. Currently most of Alabama’s agricultural production is not irrigated. The primary objectives of this study are to estimate water use associated with the potential increase in irrigation and to determine if economic gains from increases in crop yields can be obtained in Alabama’s agriculture sector through improved understanding of irrigation practices. This study will focus on Lauderdale, Limestone, and Madison counties located in northern Alabama. Economic gains are calculated from simulated crop yields produced by the crop modeling software Decision Support Software for Agrotechnologies Transfer (DSSAT) and actual cost parameters. DSSAT simulations calculate water use through a variety of irrigation practices. The ability of Alabama’s watersheds to handle the expected water-use is of particular interest from a natural resource management perspective. The results of this study shows that increased water use through irrigation can produce higher yields and economic gains to farmers.