Potential Water Savings in Irrigated Agriculture in the Lower Rio Grande Basin of Texas

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Texas Water Resources Institute

This report was completed for the Senate Bill 1 Rio Grande Regional Water Planning Project (Region M) by the District Management System (DMS) team under the direction of Dr. Guy Fipps. Funding was provided through the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station under a contract from Turner, Collie and Braden, Inc. Project activities began in March 1999, and the draft final report was submitted on June 19, 2000.

We also conducted a similar, but more limited analysis for the Integrated Water Resource Plan Project - Phase II (Phase II) which was completed in February 1999. That project was confined to the counties of Cameron, Willacy and Hidalgo and was administrated by the Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV) Development Council. For the Phase II project, mapping and data collection was limited to the main water distribution networks of the LRGV's irrigation districts. Generally, data and estimates provided by the district managers were used to calculate water savings with little independent verification.

For this study, our analysis was extended to the entire Rio Grande Planning Region (Region M). To the degree possible, we obtained information independently and verified data provided by districts. Detailed mapping and data collection was also initiated for the Maverick Irrigation District, the only district not a part of the Phase II project.