CLEMSON, S.C. — Agricultural and specialty crop producers, crop advisors, and extension agents can use this introductory guide on irrigation reservoirs as an overview of irrigation reservoir design basics, water quality and quantity considerations, and routine monitoring and management. Also discussed are funding opportunities through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for agricultural and specialty crop growers who use or are considering installing an irrigation reservoir(s) as primary or supplemental sources of water for their operations.
In the United States, irrigated agricultural acreage has increased yearly.1 In South Carolina specifically, irrigated acreage has increased from 95,642 acres in 2002 to 210,437 acres in 2017.1 Water for irrigation typically comes from ground or surface sources, including stormwater and recycled water. Competition for ground and surface water sources is increasing. Water availability can be restricted when regions are impacted by drought. Growers can use a reservoir (e.g., tailwater recovery pond or containment pond) to hold captured storm runoff and contain irrigation return water (“operational” water) that have “traveled through production areas and could contain chemical and biological contaminants”.2 Water in irrigation reservoirs is often supplemented by water from municipal sources, pumped from wells, or diverted from other surface waters.
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