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Problem: Water Inefficient Crops


Table 2.2: Water consumption by food type (USDA, 1998; Gleik, 2000)
Crop/Food Water Requirement (kilograms water per kilogram food) Current US Acres Harvested
Potato 500-1,500 1,128,716
Wheat 900-2,000 3,185,163
Alfalfa 900-2,000 5,977,985
Sorghum 1,100-1,800 565,327
Corn/Maize 1,000-1,800 1,077,8245
Soybeans 1,100-2,000 4,191,102
Rice 1,900-5,000 3,238,026
Chicken 3,500-5,700 n/a
Beef 15,000-70,000 n/a


Analysis of water demands by agriculture requires an examination of the national cultivation of ``water inefficient'' crops. The amount of water a crop transpires is dependent on climate, soil conditions, and location. Some crops have much greater water requirements than others. By shifting toward the production of more water efficient crops, agriculture could potentially reduce current and future national water demands. Table 2.2 summarizes the water efficiency of several common crops.


next up previous contents
Next: Agricultural Water Discharge Up: Irrigation Previous: Problem: Irrigation Subsidies   Contents
Andy Wingo 2001-12-10