HPWD Reinstates Voluntary Irrigation Assessment Program

AMARILLO -- After a four-year absence, the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District No. 1 is bringing back its irrigation assessment program for the 2014 growing season. 

Under the program, producers volunteer to have their center pivot or drip irrigation system evaluated by HPWD staff. 

Several times during the growing season, water wells are metered with an ultrasonic flow meter to determine the total gallon per minute flow at each pivot or drip irrigation site. The total hours that water flows through each irrigation system is also monitored.  The pumping hours and the gallon per minute flow data are then calculated to obtain the total gallons of water pumped during a typical 2,000 hour irrigation season. 

"As drought continues on the Panhandle-South Plains region, it is important for producers to know exactly how much groundwater is pumped during an irrigation season," said HPWD Manager Jason Coleman, P.E. "Because of this, the HPWD Board of Directors and staff felt it was important to reinstate the irrigation assessment program to give producers insight into the amount of water being applied to their crops."

All information gathered by district staff will be entered into a database.  At the end of the irrigation season, the total hours are obtained and a final pumping average is calculated from data obtained throughout the season. Producers receive a report of all information gathered from their site, including irrigation amounts and pumping data. 

"We encourage interested agricultural producers to participate in the program," Coleman said.  "It helps them understand how much water they use each year, and it also helps the Water District in future water planning efforts where accurate irrigation pumping information must be considered."

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