Impact of Irrigation Technologies on Water Use: Clarifying Water Withdrawals and Consumptive Use

Published 2023

When investing in new irrigation technologies, such as variable rate irrigation or putting sprinklers on drops, it is important to understand what the benefits are for both the producer and the watershed. The various components of the water cycle help explain how changes at the field scale impact water resources at the watershed scale. The topic of consumptive use of water is particularly important for making this connection; however, consumptive use tends to be a difficult concept to grasp. We address this need by providing a clear presentation of the topic of consumptive use in the context of crop production. Guidelines are given for determining whether a new irrigation technology, which reduces water withdrawals for irrigation, will also reduce consumptive use of water resulting in more water stored in the watershed and available to other water users or for use at a later date.

Publication Details



Irrigation Engineering

Publication Date January 10, 2023
Last Revision Date January 10, 2023


Series NebGuide