Optimization of Irrigation Scheduling with Alternative Saline Water Supplies in the Roswell-Artesia Basin, 1985
New Mexico’s fresh water resources are limited, but significant amounts of groundwater resources remain largely unused due to high salinity levels. Little effort has been made to utilize these aquifers for agricultural production.
The primary objective of this report is to develop an irrigation scheduling model that maximizes profits in irrigation from combined use of fresh and saline water and to determine the extent to which saline water can augment fresh water supplies for irrigation. The study area analyzed is the Roswell-Artesia Basin, one of New Mexico’s prime agricultural areas that has abundant saline water resources.
Three models were developed. Two of the models are irrigation scheduling models that predict yield based upon weather patterns and combinations of saline and fresh irrigation water. The third model, developed to interface with either of the first two, is an economic model that determines the optimal combination of fresh and saline irrigation water. The value of saline water to agriculture can also be determined by the economic model.
The results from the study indicate that saline water can be used for irrigated agriculture and that allowing unlimited pumping of saline water in the basin probably could increase farm profitability.