Abstracts of presentations given on Wednesday, 19 July 2006, in session 24 of the UCOWR Conference.


The Ogallala aquifer in the heavily irrigated, northern region of Texas continues to decline and has no appreciable rate of recharge. Under the water planning efforts in Texas, the regional water planning group identified a goal of limiting water use to an annual average of 1.25% of saturated thickness to preserve water availability for future generations. As a part of that effort, water management strategies that could be potentially implemented to reduce the rate of irrigation water use were identified and evaluated. The assessment of conservation strategies included the use of the ET network for irrigation scheduling, changes in crop variety, irrigation equipment improvements, changes in crop type, implementation of conservation tillage methods, precipitation enhancement, the conversion from irrigated to dryland farming, and brush control measures. While all of the strategies evaluated resulted in water savings, several have negative impacts on the economy of the region. If water savings are the principle objective, the strategies of changing crop variety and the use of conservation tillage should be potentially be dropped from consideration. The strategies of changing crop type and conversion of irrigated to dryland production generate the largest water savings, but had the largest negative impacts on the regional economy. The strategies of precipitation enhancement and irrigation scheduling were estimated to provide both a substantial water savings and have a positive impact on the regional economy. Regardless of the conservation strategy evaluated given the implementation level, the demand shortage could not be met with conservation alone in all areas.