Irrigation Water Management in Latin America

Aureo S. de Oliveira1, Ricardo Trezza2, Eduardo Holzapfel3, Ignacio Lorite4, and Vital Pedro S. Paz5
Latin American countries show a great potential for expanding their irrigated areas. Irrigation is important for strengthening local and regional economy and for enhancing food security. The present paper aimed at providing a brief review on key aspects of irrigation management in Latin America. Poor irrigation management can have great impact on crop production and on environment while good management reduces the waste of soil and water and help farmers maximizing their profits. It was found that additional research is needed to allow a better understanding of crop water requirements under Latin American conditions as well as to provide farmers with local derived information for irrigation scheduling. The advantages of deficit irrigation practices and the present and future opportunities with the application of remote sensing tools for water management were also considered. It is clear that due to the importance of irrigated agriculture, collaborative work among Latin American researchers and institutions is of paramount importance to face the challenges imposed by a growing population, environment degradation, and competition in the global market.
Keywords: irrigation, evapotranspiration, deficit irrigation, remote sensing
1Universidade Federal do Recôncavo da Bahia (UFRB), Núcleo de Engenharia de Água e Solo (NEAS), 44380-000 Cruz das Almas, Bahia, Brasil. aureo@ufrb.edu.br
2Universidad de Los Andes, Núcleo Rafael Rangel (NURR), Mérida, Venezuela. rtrezza@ula.ve
3Universidad de Concepción, Facultad de Ingeniería Agrícola, Chillán, Chile. eholzapf@udec.cl
4Instituto Andaluz de Investigación y Formación Agraria, Pesquera, Alimentaria y de la Producción Ecológica (IFAPA), Centro de Investigación y Formación Agraria Alameda del Obispo, Consejería de Agricultura y Pesca, Junta de Andalucía, C