KWRRI Research Reports


An evaluation of the economics of supplemental irrigation when using a surface water supply must be site specific in order to account for variations in soil moisture holding capacity, watershed area supplying the runoff, climatic conditions, and proposed irrigation management procedures.

With the use of farm specific simulation models to determine grain yields, availability of irrigation water, and economic expenditures involved in irrigation, an economic evaluation of supplemental irrigation can be performed, In the model presented in this report, the Duncan SIMAIZ model is used to predict grain yields using long-term daily weather information. SIMAIZ also determines irrigation water demand for the crop. The Haan Water Yield Model is used to predict flow into a reservoir using the same weather information. By knowing daily water flow into a reservoir and water demand for irrigation, a reservoir size is determined which will supply water at all times for the study period. Simulations are then run by incrementally reducing, by volume, the size of this reservoir, thus limiting the availability of irrigation water, and resulting in reduced irrigated yields.

An economic evaluation is performed for each reservoir size. Costs and benefits included are: initial cost of constructing the reservoir, yearly reservoir maintenance cost, yearly irrigation costs of operation, and additional income resulting from the increase in grain yields. After the project life has been assumed, the model determines the capital available for investing in an irrigation system for a given year and reservoir size. By ranking these values, a probability distribution is obtained indicating the probability of making money in any given year. By using the Central Limit Theorem, these results are converted to the probability of making money over the life of the system.

A sensitivity analysis examines the sensitivity of capital available for investment in an irrigation system to select input variation. The results indicate that great care should be exercised when assigning values to some inputs, while for others, a reasonable estimate is adequate.

This model can be used as a tool for evaluating which irrigation practices, if any, are economically feasible. An example of its use is shown.

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The work upon which this report is based was supported in part by funds provided by the Office of Water Research and Technology, United States Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C., as authorized by the Water Research and Development Act of 1978. Public Law 95-467.