Promoting The Effective Use Of Water In The Irrigation Of Permanent Crops In The Western Cape Province Of South Africa
Free (open access)
A. S. Roux
South Africa is an arid country with an average annual rainfall of little more than half the world average of 900 mm per annum. In terms of international norms, the per capita availability of water will lead to a \“water-stressed” country classification soon. The competition for water increase and the irrigation sector, that is responsible for more than 50% of the water usage, will have to get involved to find balanced solutions to the looming water shortage crisis. This provided the motivation in 1998 for the Department of Agriculture in the Western Cape Province of South Africa to start with the Agricultural Water Conservation Project. The aim of the project is to monitor the actual on-farm irrigation water use and to compare the water use with the farming practices applied by the individual farmers and to compare it with the theoretical calculated water requirements. The optimum farming practices that lead to optimum use of irrigation water will be determined from the data collected and can then be used to assist other irrigation farmers to increase their water use efficiency (WUE - kg of fruit produced per m3 water used) and to determine what research is required in this field. A Best Management Practices document will be compiled and distributed at the end of the project to assist all irrigation farmers to increase their WUE. Keywords: water use efficiency, best management practices, irrigation, plant water requirements, water conservation, agriculture. 1 Background Water is a scare resource across South Africa and also in the Western Cape. Water usage by the Western Cape agricultural sector amounts to more than 43%
water use efficiency, best management practices, irrigation, plant water requirements, water conservation, agriculture.