Figure 2. Conceptual illustration of integration and application of imagery (IDSS 1 is satellite imagery, 2 is aerial reflectance, and 3 is drone imagery using multispectral/thermal cameras), canopy (IDSS 4 and 5 based on crop evapotranspiration and other canopy-based parameters) and soil-based IDSS (IDSS 6 and 7 based on volumetric water content and 8 based on soil water potential) in a processing tomato field. Eddy covariance tower and neutron moisture probes are useful to estimate a complete water balance for validation of these available IDSS measurements. Artwork by Dr. Bonnie McGill.
California has unsustainable use of agricultural water and energy, as well as problems of severe drought, nitrate pollution and groundwater salinity. As the leading producer and exporter of agricultural produce in the United States, 5.6 percent of California’s energy is currently used for pumping groundwater. These problems and new regulatory policies (e.g., Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program) pressure growers to schedule, account and maintain records of water, energy and nutrients needed for crop and soil management. Growers require varying levels of decision support to integrate different irrigation strategies into farm operations. Decision support can come from the public or private sector, where there are many tradeoffs between cost, underlying science, user friendliness and overall challenges in farm integration. Thus, effective irrigation management requires clear definitions, decision support and guidelines for how to incorporate and evaluate the water–nutrient–energy nexus benefits of different practices and combinations of practices under shifting water governance. The California Energy Commission-sponsored Energy Product Evaluation Hub (Cal-EPE Hub) project has a mission of providing science-based evaluation of energy-saving technologies as a direct result of improved water management for irrigation in agriculture, including current and future irrigation decision support systems in California. This project incorporates end-user perceptions into evaluations of existing decision support tools in partnership with government, agricultural and private stakeholders. In this article, we review the policy context and science underlying the available irrigation decision support systems (IDSS), discuss the benefits/tradeoffs and report on their efficacy and ease of use for the most prevalent cropping systems in California. Finally, we identify research and knowledge-to-action gaps for incorporating irrigation decision support systems into new incentives and requirements for reporting water and energy consumption as well as salinity and nitrogen management in the state of California.
Jha, G.; Nicolas, F.; Schmidt, R.; Suvočarev, K.; Diaz, D.; Kisekka, I.; Scow, K.; Nocco, M.A. Irrigation Decision Support Systems (IDSS) for California’s Water–Nutrient–Energy Nexus. Agronomy 2022, 12, 1962. https://doi.org/10.3390/agrono...
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