Adopting water-conserving irrigation technology: The case of surge irrigation in Arizona

Roger H. Coupal, Paul N. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Surge-flow irrigation technology is a potential means for increasing irrigation efficiencies in desert agriculture. An economic analysis of the adoption decision for Arizona farmers reveals that an investment in surge irrigation is only economically viable when developing new agricultural lands or where gated pipe is already in use. Since the majority of the agricultural land in Arizona is furrow irrigated using ditches and syphon tubes, the potential for high adoption rates on existing farmland is rather limited. The analysis indicates that water costs, under conservative but realistic assumptions, would have to rise to US$ 0.08/m3 (US$ 100 per acre foot) before surge irrigation would be economically viable as a substitute for open ditch furrow irrigation. Further research is needed on potential labor savings and management efficiencies related to surge irrigation in order to measure potential profitability more accurately.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-28
Number of pages14
JournalAgricultural Water Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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