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High Plains Aquifer–State of Affairs of Irrigated Agriculture and Role of Irrigation in the Sustainability Paradigm

1
Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA
2
Environmental Science Graduate Program, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3714; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093714
Received: 7 April 2020 / Revised: 24 April 2020 / Accepted: 24 April 2020 / Published: 4 May 2020
Groundwater depletion is a serious issue in the southern and central parts of the High Plains Aquifer (HPA), USA. A considerable imbalance exists between the recharge process and groundwater extractions in these areas, which threatens the long-term sustainability of the aquifer. Irrigated agriculture has a major share in the economy, and it requires high pumping rates in regions vulnerable to large groundwater level declines. A literature review has been conducted to understand the state of affairs of irrigated agriculture in the HPA, along with the dynamics of groundwater decline and recharge using statistical and remote-sensing based datasets. Also, three irrigation management and technology-based approaches have been discussed from the perspective of sustainability. The southern and central parts of the HPA consist mostly of non-renewable groundwater formations, and the natural water storage is prone to exhaustion. Moreover, the aforementioned regions have comparatively higher crop water requirement due to the climate, and irrigating crops in these regions puts stringent pressure on the aquifer. The upper threshold of irrigation application efficiency (IAE) is high in the HPA, and could reach up to 95%; however, considerable room for improvement in irrigation water management exists. In general, the practices of irrigation scheduling used in the HPA are conventional and a small proportion of growers use modern methods to decide about irrigation timing. Among numerous ways to promote sustainable groundwater use in the HPA, deficit irrigation, use of soil moisture sensors, and subsurface drip irrigation can be considered as potential ways to attain higher lifespans in susceptible parts of the aquifer. View Full-Text
Keywords: water resources; irrigation scheduling; groundwater depletion; water management; sustainability; remote sensing; Ogallala aquifer water resources; irrigation scheduling; groundwater depletion; water management; sustainability; remote sensing; Ogallala aquifer
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ajaz, A.; Datta, S.; Stoodley, S. High Plains Aquifer–State of Affairs of Irrigated Agriculture and Role of Irrigation in the Sustainability Paradigm. Sustainability 2020, 12, 3714. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093714

AMA Style

Ajaz A, Datta S, Stoodley S. High Plains Aquifer–State of Affairs of Irrigated Agriculture and Role of Irrigation in the Sustainability Paradigm. Sustainability. 2020; 12(9):3714. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093714

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ajaz, Ali; Datta, Sumon; Stoodley, Scott. 2020. "High Plains Aquifer–State of Affairs of Irrigated Agriculture and Role of Irrigation in the Sustainability Paradigm" Sustainability 12, no. 9: 3714. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093714

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