Reducing Water Usage and Energy Costs Through Improved Irrigation Management

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2016: $76,656.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2019
Grant Recipient: Mississippi State University
Region: Southern
State: Mississippi
Principal Investigator:
Dr. R. Curt Lacy
Mississippi State University

Information Products

Irrigation Management (Article/Newsletter/Blog)


  • Agronomic: corn, cotton, rice, soybeans


  • Crop Production: irrigation, water management
  • Education and Training: decision support system, demonstration, extension, technical assistance, youth education
  • Energy: energy conservation/efficiency, energy use
  • Farm Business Management: risk management, reducing costs while maintaining yields

    Proposal abstract:

    The Lower Mississippi River Basin is one of the most productive and intensively irrigated agricultural regions in the U.S. Over 90 percent of the irrigation water is withdrawn from the Mississippi River Valley Alluvial Aquifer, a shallow, highly productive aquifer underlying much of the region. Easily available water at relatively low cost has encouraged over reliance on the aquifer for irrigation. Resulting declines in groundwater levels have negatively affected agricultural productivity and profitability, base flows of streams, water quality, and aquatic and riparian habitats.

    Stakeholders are requesting that MSU Extension Service educate producers on irrigation application efficiency and scheduling techniques. Specifically, they have requested information on techniques that will maintain or improve yields with lower cost or less water use.

    The objective of this proposal is to equip county extension agents with the technical expertise and equipment necessary to assist producers who want to adopt water-saving technologies.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Reducing water usage and irrigation costs of cooperating MS Delta farmers by 25 percent while maintaining current yield levels using MSU-ES recommendations.
    2. Training 15 ANR agents in the Delta Extension Region on how to properly use the software programs Pipe Planner and PHACUET.
    3. Training 15 ANR agents in the Delta Extension Region on the key differences and considerations among the commercially available flow meters and moisture sensors.
    4. Training 15 ANR agents in the Delta Extension Region how to properly install and utilize the various flow meters and soil moisture sensors.
    5. Having at least 8 ANR agents be Certified Agricultural Irrigation Specialists.
    6. Having at least 10 different agents present the results of this project to their counties through posters, invited presentations, or other appropriate scholarly outputs at a variety of professional meetings or outlets.

    Objectives to be completed within two years of this project completion include:

    1. Adapting and utilizing the teaching materials and methods developed in this region to develop a statewide irrigation education program.
    2. Partnering with 1890 and other 1862 LGUs to develop multi-state educational irrigation programs.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.