Irrigation Management and Water Use Efficiency in the West Bank

Posted in 1996 Papers

Agriculture is a vital importance in the West Bank. If functions as the main source of income in Palestinian economy. However, Israeli has imposed restrictions on the amount of fresh water that can be used by Palestinian farmers. As such, irrigated agriculture in the West Bank becomes limited where the total irrigated are is 101,615.5 dunums which constitutes about 6% of the total cultivated areas. However, the current irrigated areas require about 98 MCM of water per year to get optimal production and to conserve the soil from further deterioration by salts. Due to the Israeli control over the Palestinian water resources, the Palestinians in the West Bank are being limited to use 93 MCM of water for irrigation purposes. However, the current extraction for irrigation is not enough for the current and future levels of development. The return to water use for irrigated crops can be increased if the quantity of applied water equals the ideal amount to achieve the optimal production. The study shows that the return to water use for vegetable crops planted under plastic houses is about 11kh/m³ of applied water which is higher than that of other agricultural patterns. The application efficiency for irrigation systems in the West Bank is relatively high which is not due to a good management but mainly due to the shortage of water in most irrigated areas. Drip and sprinkler irrigation methods have an application efficiency of 84% and 73% for both systems respectively which are within the range of attainable efficiency.

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