Schmidt, Erik (2009) Reducing evaporation losses - opportunities for cost effective water savings. In: Irrigation Australia 2009: Irrigation Australia Irrigation and Drainage Conference: Irrigation Today - Meeting the Challenge, 18-21 Oct 2009, Swan Hill, Australia.
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Annual evaporation losses from irrigation storage dams and channels are significant: it is estimated that there are more than 2,000,000 farm dams across Australia (Australian Water Association, 2006) representing some 8,000,000 ML water stored. Annual evaporation losses from these storages are estimated to be around 1.32GL/yr and up to 2.88GL/yr (Baillie, 2008). This suggests investing in infrastructure to reduce such evaporative losses would be an attractive option for modernising irrigation systems. Various products are already being used commercially for evaporation management, but come at high capital cost and are not considered appropriate for large areas. This paper discusses opportunities for cost effective water savings using evaporation mitigation technologies. Technologies for measuring seepage and evaporation losses from dams are described and the economic viability of investing in evaporation control products is discussed, using case studies. The performance of different products is compared using an online Economic Ready Reckoner for evaporation mitigation systems and data from the case studies. The CRC for Irrigation Futures has been researching the potential for using chemical monolayers for evaporation management since 2004. A brief review of this research is provided, including an assessment of the performance of monolayer products, factors affecting performance, and the development of monolayer application, monitoring and control systems.
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