The most limiting and most variable environmental factor affecting the productivity of plants is water. Whenever adequate water is not available, farmers have always tried to irrigate their crops. Irrigation water has always been in short supply, but it is becoming a scarce commodity in many regions. Even where it is available, pumping and/or transportation costs have increased dramatically in many locations. Today the profitability of irrigated agriculture is dependent of efficient use of water. The effective and efficient use of irrigation is dependent on four factors.

1. The effect of irrigation on plant production.

2. The best system for a given field and water supply.

3. Determining how much water to apply at peak use rate and when to apply it.

4. The quality of the water.

This chapter will discuss these aspects of irrigation.

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