Irrigation Software Will Help Save Water; Scientist Wins Major Award

Article excerpt

A WATER scientist based at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) has received a prestigious international award for his role in developing software that saves 20 per cent of water used to irrigate over one million hectares of crops such as cotton, grains and sugar cane in Australia.

Dr Malcolm Gillies, an engineering lecturer and hydrologist with the Co-operative Research Centre for Irrigation Futures, won the Young Professional Award presented recently in New Delhi by the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage.

Dr Gillies, part of the CRC team, said the software could be used to monitor the performance of furrow, bay and basin irrigation, which are the main methods to irrigate crops in Australia.

"Water savings averaging 20%, and as high as 50%, can be achieved through improved flow rates and scheduled irrigation times suited to various field layouts and soil types," he said.

"Potential total water savings in Australia are estimated at over 800,000 ML (800 GL) a year.

"The saving is potentially applicable to farming systems in Australia which use more than four million megalitres (4000 GL) of irrigation water. …