Part 652Irrigation Guide
Conservation Management Systems andIrrigation PlanningChapter 10
10–1(210-vi-NEH, September 1997)
Chapter 10Conservation ManagementSystems and Irrigation Planning
The material in chapter 10 is intended to help theconsultant assist users of irrigated land plan conserva-tion management systems that maintain productivityof the soil, water, air, plant, and animal (SWAPA)resource base as well as take into account humanconsiderations (social, economic, and cultural). Con-servation management systems consider the total farmor ranch environment, including the watershed,airshed, and environment in which it exists. Conserva-tion management can involve one or more resourcemanagement systems. Irrigation system planning mustconsider the potential interactive effect on SWAPAresources plus how an action may affect the onsiteand offsite human environment.
An irrigation sys-tem plan is a component of an overall farm con-servation plan.
Irrigation system planning includes:•Sustaining or improving soil condition(includesproductivity)•Maintaining or improving surface and groundwater quality and quantity•Wise use of limited water supplies•Providing a condition healthful for growingplantswithout degrading other resources•Consideration of domestic animals and wildlife•Impacts on soil erosion and deposition•Consideration of human needsConservation irrigation planning requires the develop-ment of conservation management systems. An con-servation management system is a combination of conservation practices that when installed and main-tained will protect the SWAPA resource base. Includedare meeting tolerable soil losses, maintaining accept-able water quality, conserving limited water supplies,providing equal or greater returns, and maintainingacceptable ecological and management levels for theselected use. Conservation management systems alsoinclude conservation practices that improve the qual-ity of the environment and standard of living of thoseliving on the land. To an irrigator this can mean reduc-ing water and energy use, controlling erosion, improv-ing crop yield, improving product quality, and main-taining productivity of the land. The art and science of planning involve workingclosely with the irrigation decisionmaker to under-stand objectives and concerns and to identify resourceproblems. This requires a resource inventory to de-velop the foundation on which to base alternativeconservation management systems. Alternatives mustbe presented to the user in such a way that details canbe easily understood and informed decisions can bemade. Implementation requires quality and detailedplans. Installation of an irrigation system and compo-nents should be completed according to these plans.Daily management, operation, and maintenance of theirrigation system must be included in the plan withcosts and benefits identified.Planning is a continuing process, not an end productin itself. Planning has value only if implemented. Acooperator’s objectives change as do economic condi-tions. Follow-up assistance may be required to addressthese changes and to make adjustments in conserva-tion resource management. Even with detailed plan-ning and design, most irrigation related recommenda-tions are estimates and must be adjusted under actualfield conditions. The management plan must takethese factors into account.