Producers tapping into water supplies for irrigation needs can now get training online at a new Texas Water Resources Institute Web site.
The Texas Water Development Board, through a three-year Agricultural Water Conservation Grant, provided funds to the Texas Water Resources Institute to develop a statewide Irrigation Training Program to help farmers and others learn about efficient tools and techniques of irrigation management, said Dr. B.L. Harris, acting director of the institute.
The Texas Water Resources Institute is part of Texas AgriLife Research, Texas AgriLife Extension Service and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University.
Texas Water Resources Institute, AgriLife Extension, the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and its network of local soil and water conservation districts, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, collaborated to develop and implement a comprehensive program during 2008 and 2009, Harris said.
The Texas Water Resources Institute submitted a final report to the Texas Water Development Board this month to document all activities and results from the Irrigation Training Program project.
Six training programs were held throughout the state in Lubbock, Chillicothe, Mercedes, Sinton, Hondo and Amarillo during 2008 and 2009. Agendas and presentations from these trainings are available on the new Web site located at http://irrigationtraining.tamu.edu/.
The six trainings reached 296 agricultural producers who manage approximately 700,000 acres. Harris said the program saved an estimated 93,848 acre-feet of water during the project when participants implemented the recommended practices.
The site also provides access to two electronic editions (North Texas and South Texas) of an inclusive 500-plus page manual, which addresses both fundamental information and region-specific needs regarding irrigation in Texas, said Dr. Dana Porter, AgriLife Extension agricultural engineer in Lubbock and lead editor for the manual.
Free CDs of the manuals can be ordered by contacting the Texas Water Resources Institute at firstname.lastname@example.org. A limited number of hard copies are also available, Harris said.