Interested producers are encouraged to participate in the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District’s (HPWD) 2020 Irrigation Assessment Program.
“The Irrigation Assessment Program has two major benefits. Producers learn more about the performance of their center pivot or subsurface drip irrigation system. Plus, it gives a better understanding of groundwater conditions in aquifers within the HPWD service area,” said Field Staff Supervisor Keith Whitworth.
Since 2013, cooperators have volunteered to have their irrigation systems assessed by HPWD staff. Water levels in wells are measured at the beginning/end of the growing season. In addition, flow rates of the wells/irrigation systems are checked using an ultrasonic flow meter. This service is provided free of charge to program participants by HPWD.
Total pumping hours, gallons per minute pumped, and number of irrigated acres are calculated to determine the total acre-inches of groundwater applied during the growing season. Rainfall totals are determined through use of radar estimates from April-September. This gives an estimate of the total inches of water available for plant use.
For example, the 2019 program participants’ well data indicates an average depth-to-water of 223 feet and an average flow rate of 105 gallons per minute. The average amount of irrigation water applied in 2019 by program participants was 13.4 inches for corn; 11.2 inches for cotton; 16.7 inches for silage; and 3.6 inches for wheat. All information gathered from each site is shared with program participants.
Whitworth said water samples are also collected as an extra service to Irrigation Assessment Program participants. HPWD is able to check Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), chloride, and pH levels of groundwater. Knowing the water chemistry in wells is important since it impacts efficient use of supplemental nutrients applied to crops.
Interested producers are encouraged to contact Whitworth at (806) 762-0181 for additional information.