Use of telemetry-based equipment allowed participants in the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District’s Assistance in Irrigation Management Program to save 26,725 acre-inches of groundwater during the 2019 growing season.
“AIM is a voluntary program that helps producers with the purchase price of telemetry-based irrigation monitoring systems used with either a center pivot or subsurface drip irrigation system,” said HPWD General Manager Jason Coleman.
Approximately 68 AIM Program participants deployed 209 telemetry systems on 25,427 acres in 2018 and 2019.
“There can be challenges with irrigation management when systems are operating all at once and are located miles apart. Several hours can elapse before an equipment malfunction or other problem is detected. Use of telemetry equipment allows producers to monitor system performance and make irrigation management decisions by remote control using a computer, tablet, or smartphone,” Coleman said.
The 2019 AIM Program Annual Report shows the following results:
- Total savings was 26,725 acre-inches of water or an average of 1.07 inches per acre.
- Irrigation system malfunction alerts reduced producer response time by 8 hours. This saved 7,463 acre-inches of water.
- Rainfall data helped producers save 1,628 acre-inches of water.
- Irrigation scheduling helped participants save 17,634 inches of water.
- Producers were able to reduce 12 weekly visits to their irrigation system sites. This helps save money and other travel resources.
Cost-share funding for the AIM Program is provided through the Texas Water Development Board’s Agricultural Water Conservation Grants program. HPWD received two grants totaling $375,000 to assist producers with implementation of these tools to improve irrigation management within the District.
“These devices make it easier to mitigate groundwater loss, monitor water applications, and make decisions on how much water is needed to produce crops,” said Victoria Whitehead, HPWD General Counsel and AIM Program Administrator. “The HPWD Board of Directors commend producers in the AIM Program for adopting the next level of irrigation management in an effort to conserve groundwater resources within the District,” she said.
Visit www.hpwd.org/aim for more AIM program information and to read the full 2019 report.