Many water-saving techniques have been developed for rice production in response to irrigation water scarcity. The selection of the water-saving methods and the optimum thresholds for obtaining maximum benefits of these regimes are largely site-specific depending mainly on soil type, soil texture, and the environment. A two-year (2017 and 2018) experiment was conducted to evaluate the response of the agronomic growth performance, yield, and water use of super rice varieties under different irrigation regimes in Jiangsu Province, China. The irrigation regimes were comprised of different water-controlled thresholds, in different growth stages. Treatments included traditional flooding irrigation (FI, as the control) and the following four water-saving irrigation (WSI) regimes: shallow adjusting irrigation (WSI1), rainwater-catching and controlled irrigation (WSI2), controlled irrigation (WSI3), and drought planting with straw mulching (WSI4). The results showed that WSI treatments significantly increased the irrigation water use efficiency by 20.60% to 56.92% as compared with FI. The WSI treatments significantly decreased the crop evapotranspiration during the rice growth period. The grain yields of WSI1, WSI2, and WSI3 were significantly increased (6.62%~7.20% for WSI1, 8.21%~12.39% for WSI2, and 8.30%~12.91% for WSI3) as compared with that of the control, whereas WSI4 decreased the rice yield by 11.69%~18.10%. This research implies that WSI2 and WSI3 have the greatest potential for promotion in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. An optimization of the irrigation threshold of WSI1 and WSI4 should be considered to guarantee the overall benefit.
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