Agricultural Water Measurement

Almost 90% of the irrigated acreage represented in teh survey receives water that is measured at the farm gate.


Approximately 2/3 of the irrigated acreage represented in the survey is investigating ways to improve water measurement technology.


*In December 2008, the Council released a report that represents over 40% of the State's total irrigated acreage.

Download a copy of the report here.


  Seemingly simple, agricultural water measurement is deceptively intricate.  Many factors add to teh complexity of accurately measuring agricultural water deliveries and water use, beginning with the frequent reuse of agricultural water.  Unlike urban sttings where water is tradionally only used once, agricultural water is commonly recaptured from a field or neighboring farm and reapplied for a second or third application.


  Within any given farm, field size, crops and irrigation methods are often different from field to field, making the needs at each irrigation turout unique.  Water deliveries may vary even on a given field from one irrigation to another because of plant maturity or cultural practices.  Flow rate changes are even possible during an irrigation event due to irrigation management actions or changes in the district's delivery system.


  While most agricultural water measurement is within 10 percent accuracy, most districts are researching ways to further improve the accuracy of their measurements.  Using technology, such as SCADA, inproved nmeasuremt devices and GIS mapping, irrigation districts are adopting new technology as it becomes available and affordable.  One of the main impediments to improved water measurement is cost.  Advancing technology makes improved water measuement feasible but the cost to achieve accuracy better than what currently exists is often not locally cost effective.