Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering

Degree Level



Biological and Agricultural Engineering


Runkle, Benjamin

Committee Member/Reader

Henry, Chris

Committee Member/Second Reader

Huang, Qiuqiong


Unsustainable agricultural practices are putting a strain on freshwater supplies in many parts of the world. More efficient irrigation techniques are going to be critical to feed a growing population. Data from the 2016 Arkansas Irrigation Survey was used to assess the adoption of three Irrigation Water Management (IWM) practices: multiple inlet rice irrigation, tailwater recovery, and storage reservoirs. Results indicate that these practices do not always lead to reported pumping time reductions, a proxy for water use savings. Large variations in pumping time reduction are observed across producers for all three practices. A Tobit model was used to examine the relationship between pumping time reduction and a set of producer, farm, and water supply characteristics. Operators that owned their land had a more significant reduction in pumping time when using tailwater recovery systems and storage reservoirs than those who did not. Land ownership had no discernible influence on pumping time reduction for multiple inlet rice irrigation. More formal education and years of farming experience both had a negative relationship with pumping time reduction for multiple inlet irrigation. Users of tailwater recovery systems achieved sizeable pumping time reductions when faced with a declining groundwater table compared to those who implement multiple inlet irrigation. This reduction in pumping time is consistent with the role of on-farm reservoirs as an infrastructure-based solution to convert groundwater to surface water. Counter to expectations, having an agriculture-related formal education or flow meters did not influence reported pumping time savings. By providing empirical evidence on how different factors can affect the effectiveness of IWM practices, findings from this paper provide insight for IWM implementation programs.


irrigation, pumping time, multiple inlet irrigation, tailwater recovery, irrigation water management practice