Juan G. R. The modernization of irrigation requires demonstrative areas.
Newspaper Information. Alicante , Spain , Pg. 24, 13 / 4 / 2006.
Given the importance of saving water for sustainable development of the Valencia Community, the Ministries of Agriculture and Environment of Spain joint with the Autonomy government have announced a plan of action that includes as a priority the transformation of around 130000 hectares of traditional irrigation to drip irrigation. The modernization of irrigation systems from the point of view of a better use of water provides two fundamental aspects: reducing water losses by conduction from the source of supply to the area of irrigation and achieve a more rational use of water as a result of greater efficiency of water within the area of irrigation.
The conduction losses are reduced essentially for the maintenance of conduction networks, the lining of the same, and the transformation of the networks. The efficiency of water used in irrigation is related to the used irrigation technique, so irrigation efficiency in the traditional technique of gravity irrigation generally ranges from 0.55 to 0.70, in the sprinkler irrigation efficiency is 0.75 to 0.85 and in the case of localized irrigation efficiency is the highest values of 0.90 to 0.95 %, indicating that the transformation of surface irrigation technique in localized irrigation can achieve efficiencies above the 20%, which is causing a savings of a portion of the volume of water currently being used.
New technologies have the advantage of increasing the efficiency of water use and increase irrigation man productivity, but is a disadvantage that increase energy consumption increased considerably é irrigation investment per unit area, it is advisable its use in crops that have a good response to localized irrigation and adequate cost-effectiveness. , in order to achieve high profitability of the crop and to be able to recover the investment made in a timeframe of less than 10 years.
The traditional irrigation technique is characterized by high irrigation intervals or apply high water volume for irrigation and uses small number of irrigation, to transform it into the localized irrigation cause that are used shorter irrigation intervals, smaller water volume irrigation and more irrigation or more irrigation frequently. That show that the modernization of irrigation systems implies a profound technological change and must be prepared for this transformation, so it is advisable to a gradual changes of technology, coupled with irrigation demonstration areas located in different areas to be modernize, thus the producer will gradually familiar with the new technology because the time of irrigation is conditioned with the type of soil, crop and irrigation technique used.
I have personally participated through the departments of the project and operation of irrigation systems in different transformations irrigation techniques: gravity irrigation to sprinkler irrigation, sprinkler irrigation to central pivot, surface irrigation to machines irrigation, sprinkler to localized irrigation and surface irrigation to localized irrigation. In cases that the changes were sudden irrigation, the producers have not made the best start and increased crop yields and has had the difficulty of not dominate with sufficient precision the benefits that the new technology enables irrigation and unable to adequate exploitation, it is recommended that besides carrying out demonstration areas of localized irrigation for farmers to be more familiar with drip irrigation, should give lectures to users, as well as seminars related to localized irrigation and exploitation.
The modernization of the irrigation system, is a priority task of the state and as a result the Spanish government intends to benefit 867000 ha with a total investment of 2409 million euros, of which 456 million was earmarked for the Community of Valencia, Furthermore the Valencia government allocated 30 million for the same purpose. Because of the importance of saving water is guaranteed as planned and that this investment will recover in the shortest possible time, it is necessary to conduct demonstration plots of drip irrigation, together with the works of transformation in the areas to modernizing during the year 2006 and 2007.
Demonstration areas of drip irrigation should run 1 to 2 years, with the collaboration of Technological Services Irrigation Valencia Institute of Agrarian Research and Technological Development Department of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Community of Valencia in coordination with the Irrigation Direction of the Agriculture Ministry and the Ministry of Environment. The modernization of irrigation involves high investment and technological transformations deep; it is recommended that the change be accompanied by located irrigation demonstration areas in different zones.