From LA Times Greenspace
By Bettina Boxall
It's the opposite of conventional wisdom: When farmers use drip irrigation on their crops, they wind up consuming more water than if they used less efficient irrigation techniques. At least that's what water resources professor Frank A. Ward concludes in a new study.
Ward, who is on the faculty of New Mexico State University, used computer models to analyze farm water use in the upper Rio Grande River basin.
While drip irrigation can require half the water that flood irrigation does, plants absorb more water with drip, crop yield increases and more water is lost to evapotranspiration. Because drip is more efficient, there is also less overflow to seep back into aquifers or wash into nearby streams or rivers.