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Wageningen Universiteit (2004)

Effectiveness of surge flow irrigation in Egypt : water use efficiency in field crop production

Ismail, S.M. 

Titre : Effectiveness of surge flow irrigation in Egypt : water use efficiency in field crop production

Auteur : Ismail, S.M. 

Université de soutenance  : Wageningen Universiteit

Grade : PhD thesis 2004

Résumé partiel
Egypt is a country of tremendous land resources but limited water resources. The area of cultivated land is hardly exceeding 31,500 km^ or only 3.15% of the gross area. The river Nile is the main source of water in Egypt. The share of Egypt in the flow of the river Nile is at least 55.5 billion mVyear. Due to the huge increase in population growth the per capita share of productive land has fallen from 0.28 ha in 1898 to 0.05 ha in 1999. Not only the per capita share of land is going down ; the per capita share of water is also falling sharply. This share of 850 m^ per capita per year is already below the socalled "water-poverty" line of about 1,000 m^ per capita per year. lt will be even fiirther reduced to an expected amount of 555 m^ per capita per year by 2025. In the recent years the Govemment established large scale agricultural projects in order to compensate the population growth. Expansion of irrigated agriculture has to be predominantly realized by increasing the water use efficiency. In Egypt, the dominant irrigation method is surface irrigation, which covers approximately 83% of the irrigated areas. The rest lies under sprinkler (12.5%) and drip (4.5%). Surface irrigation or gravity methods are generally characterized by a low application efficiency. One opportunity to increase the efficiency of surface irrigation is to convert it to sprinkler or drip. Converting surface irrigation systems to sprinkler or drip is highly expensive for a country like Egypt. Another option to increase the efficiency of surface irrigation systems is to convert the traditional irrigation method to surge flow irrigation. Surge flow irrigation is the intermittent application of water to fiirrows or borders in a series of relatively short on and off time periods. Varlev (1971) introduced the concept of surge flow irrigation in Bulgaria as a method for improving the uniformity of moisture distribution along the fiirrow. Stringham and Keiler (1979) have essentially developed this irrigation method at Utah State University. Since then, it is widely applied in large areas in many countries like several states of the USA, Australia and Portugal. Large sizes and long tlirrows characterize the farms of these areas. The length of the furrows ranges from 300 m to 1700 m, especially the very long ilirrows are used in the USA. The main objective of the introduction of surge flow irrigation is to increase the efficiency and the productive use of water. Researches indicate that surge flow irrigation helps to increase application efficiency, increases crop production and saves water. Information about the proper stream size, initial on-time and cut-back phase became known. Moreover, guidelines for using surge flow irrigation in long fields have been established. Application of surge flow irrigation under small farm sizes and short field conditions is still not known. This study has been carried out to demonstrate the applicability of surge flow irrigation under short field conditions as they prevail in Egypt. To study the effect of surge flow irrigation two sets of field experiments have been established at two different locations. The first set of the experiments has been carried out in the Tunnel experimental plot of the Irrigation and Water Engineering Group, Wageningen University, the Netherlands. The aim of the experiments was to get familiar with surge flow irrigation and to operate it manually as well as to select the treatments, which can be applied under Egyptian conditions. The Tunnel contained two soil types namely, sandy clay and sandy clay loam. The second set of the field experiments has been carried out in two different locations in Assiut, Egypt. The first location is classified as clay soil and was situated at the Agriculture Experimental Station, Assiut University.

Mots clés : surface irrigation / surge irrigation / irrigation water / efficiency / plant water relations / egypt

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Page publiée le 27 mars 2008, mise à jour le 1er janvier 2018