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Evaluation of water dynamics of contour-levee irrigation system in sloped rice fields in Colombia

Takeda, Naoya, López-Galvis, Lorena, Pineda, Dario, Castilla, Armando, Takahashi, Taro, Fukuda, Shinji, Okada, Kensuke
Agricultural water management 2019 v.217 pp. 107-118
commercial farms, field experimentation, flooded conditions, flowering, grain yield, hydraulic flumes, irrigation scheduling, irrigation systems, paddies, piezometers, rain, rice, runoff, soil permeability, water table, Caribbean, Colombia
Contour-levee irrigation system is commonly used for rice cultivation in Latin American and Caribbean countries, but its water dynamics in commercial farm field settings are yet to be fully determined. This study aimed to investigate the water dynamics of the contour-levee irrigation system by analyzing conventional irrigation practices and by quantifying water balance and additionally to examine potential toposequential effects. Field experiments with different irrigation intervals were conducted on three commercial farms in Ibagué, Colombia for two seasons from 2017 to 2018. Irrigation and runoff water flows were constantly measured during the crop cycle using Parshall flumes with water level sensors. Percolation rate and field water table were measured using percolators and piezometers installed along the toposequence. The results showed that conventional irrigation management was highly flexible depending on soil permeability, rainfall, and agronomic factors, not particularly paying attention to ensure the flooded conditions during flowering period. The water balance resulted in the irrigation accounting for 76% of the total water input, whereas the runoff, ET, and percolation accounted for 40%, 21%, and 31% on overall average with considerable variation among the three farms. Percolation rates and duration with standing water did not show a clear and consistent tendency among the toposequential positions, but the percolation rate was significantly different among the farms corresponding to soil permeability. Consequently, clear toposequential effects on the water dynamics or on grain yield were not observed at the study site. To our knowledge, this study is the first to elucidate detailed water dynamics of contour-levee irrigation system in farm fields including toposequential difference.