Water required, water used, and potential water sources for rice irrigation, north coast of Puerto Rico

Water-Resources Investigations Report 86-4334




A 3-yr investigation was conducted to determine the water required and used (both consumed and applied) for irrigation in the rice-growing areas of Vega Baja, Manati, and Arecibo along the north coast. In addition, the investigation evaluated the water resources of each area with regard to the full development of rice farming areas. Based on experiments conducted at selected test farms, water required ranged from 3.13 to 5.25 acre-ft/acre/crop. The amount of water required varies with the wet and dry seasons. Rainfall was capable of supplying from 31 to 70% of the water required for the measured crop cycles. Statistical analyses demonstrated that as much as 95% of rainfall is potentially usable for rice irrigation. The amount of water consumed differed from the quantity required at selected test farms. The difference between the amount of water consumed and that required was due to unaccounted losses or gains, seepage to and from the irrigation and drainage canals, and lateral leakage through levees. Due to poor water-management practices, the amount of water applied to the farms was considerably larger than the sum of the water requirement and the unaccounted losses or gains. Rivers within the rice growing areas constitute the major water supply for rice irrigation. Full development of these areas will require more water than the rivers can supply. Efficient use of rainfall can significantly reduce the water demand from streamflow. The resulting water demand, however, would still be in excess of the amount available from streamflow. Groundwater development in the area is limited because of seawater intrusion in the aquifers underlying the rice-growing areas. Capture of seepage to the aquifers using wells located near streams, artificial recharge, and development of the deep artesian system can provide additional water for rice irrigation. (Author 's abstract)

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USGS Numbered Series
Water required, water used, and potential water sources for rice irrigation, north coast of Puerto Rico
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Water-Resources Investigations Report
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U.S. Geological Survey,
vi, 35 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.