Energy Use for Irrigation in a Major U.S. Agricultural Region

Authors: Karen Humes*, University of Idaho, Emily Thompson, Department of Geography, University of Idaho
Topics: Energy, Water Resources and Hydrology, Agricultural Geography
Keywords: energy, energy-water nexus, food-energy-water nexus, agriculture, irrigation
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Idaho is second only to California for the volume of water withdrawn per year for irrigating croplands. Irrigated agriculture is concentrated in the southern, semi-arid portion of the state, where irrigation water is drawn from both snowmelt-dominated surface runoff and a very large, prolific underlying aquifer known as the Eastern Snake River Plain Aquifer. The large irrigated agricultural region, which drives much of the economy of the state, has developed around the abundance of both water and low-cost electricity with which to transport it. Increasingly however, growth in agricultural production, food processing and population, together with climate variability that impacts both water availability and sources/costs of electricity generation, requires that the linkages between water use, energy use and food production/processing in this region be better understood and quantified. In this poster we present our methodology and early results on quantifying the energy use for irrigation, including the spatial patterns, temporal trends and impacts of climate variability.

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