On-property technologies reduce evaporation
Farm dam management has been a particular interest of the National Program for Sustainable Irrigation, with much of the work undertaken by Deb Atkins of Industry Investment NSW in a collaborative project as part of the former CRC for Irrigation Futures.
Two recent reports on precision irrigation are: the Review of Precision Irrigation Technologies undertaken by the National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture, University of Southern Queensland; and results of a Long Term Sustainability of Precision Irrigation, led by Rob Murray from the University of Adelaide and undertaken jointly with the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation.
A feature of precision irrigation is to deliver water with the aid of sensing in the right amount at the right time and to where it is needed. Riverland citrus grower Bill Ruediger, for instance, uses crop requirements and soil moisture sensing to schedule water applications through low level sprinklers restricted in reach to only cover the root zone. He once wet up the whole orchard but now loses much less water via evaporation from exposed soil. Evaporation is also kept in check by mulching (see picture with moist area shown when coarse mulch is pushed aside).