Yields of suspended sediment from watersheds in the Quincy and Pasco Basins of Washington State have been reduced by the use of sprinkler irrigation on cropland previously in furrow irrigation. Mean daily yields of suspended sediment from nine watersheds sampled during April and May 1994 ranged from 0.4 kg/ha of irrigated cropland in a watershed with no furrow irrigation to 19 kg/ha in a watershed where 58% of irritated cropland was in furrow irrigation. About 67% of the variation in the yields can be attributed to irrigation method. Temporal trends also indicated that use of sprinkler irrigation reduced sediment yields. Mean daily yields of suspended solids from one of the watersheds decreased from 0.3 kg/ha in 1975 to <0.2 kg/ha in 1988, corresponding with a decrease from about 65% to <50% in the use of furrow irrigation. Sampling in two watersheds suggests that the use of sprinkler irrigation reduces runoff losses of pesticides and N. For 10 of 13 pesticides and N, runoff losses from a watershed with mostly furrow irrigation exceeded runoff losses from a watershed with mostly sprinkler irrigation.
Additional publication details
Relation between irrigation method, sediment yields, and losses of pesticides and nitrogen