Estimating Statewide Irrigation Requirements Using a Crop Simulation Model

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Guerra, Larry C.
Hoogenboom, Gerrit
Boken, Vijendra K.
Thomas, Daniel L.
Hook, James E.
Harrison, Kerry A.
Hatcher, Kathryn J.
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An understanding of water needs in agriculture is a critical input in resolving the water resource issues that confront the state of Georgia. Unfortunately, how much water is required and how much water is actually being used for irrigation is unknown. The objective of this study was to estimate water demand for irrigation for the entire state of Georgia using a crop simulation model. The irrigation requirements for all the counties where irrigated cotton, corn, peanut and soybean were grown in 2000, 2001 and 2002 were estimated using the Environmental Policy Integrated Climate (EPIC) model. These counties were distributed across seven regions; with three regions, i.e., Flint Basin, Central Coastal Plain and Coastal Zone, representing the major growing areas. The combined irrigation withdrawal in the Flint Basin, Central Coastal Plain and Coastal Zone accounted for about 98% and 99% of the statewide total irrigation withdrawal in 2000 and 2001, respectively, mainly due to large irrigated acreage in those regions. Statewide total irrigation withdrawal was estimated to be 199,125 Mgallons in 2000 and 114,101 Mgallons in 2001. These irrigation requirements will vary from year to year depending on the spatial and temporal distribution of rainfall during the growing season. Total irrigated acreage also had a major impact on irrigation withdrawal. We will implement the model for other crops to determine the total irrigation withdrawals for agriculture in the state of Georgia.
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