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The optimisation of electricity and water use for sustainable management of irrigation farming systems
Expanded Title:The general objective of this research is to develop appropriate management approaches for reducing electricity cost, improving water use productivity and increasing profitability of irrigation farming for selected irrigation areas in South Africa. Ruraflex is more profitable than Landrate irrespective of system size and irrigation system delivery capacity since all the irrigation systems included in the analyses resulted in higher net present values using Ruraflex which is a direct result of lower electricity costs associated with Ruraflex. An important observation is also that the total annual fixed cost charge for Landrate is consistently higher than the annual fixed cost charge of Ruraflex, and that savings can be achieved through careful planning of electricity supply points’ sizes and locations. Altering the maximum notified demand should be carefully considered as penalties apply if the maximum notified demand is exceeded. The timing of irrigation is of utmost importance since it has a direct effect on electricity costs and crop yield. Profitability of Ruraflex is closely related to the irrigation scheduling practices. Careful consideration of the irrigation system design and irrigation scheduling practices is necessary. However, the assumption made by various researchers and irrigation designers that all available off-peak hours will be used first before irrigation will take place in more expensive time-of-use timeslots is void by the fact that the water budget and the status of the crop will determine irrigation timing and amounts. During peak irrigation demand periods, the value of the marginal product is much higher than the marginal factor cost of applying irrigation water, therefore it is profitable to irrigate during peak timeslots. Smaller delivery capacities proved to be the most profitable for all the system sizes and electricity tariff structures investigated, as higher flow rates increased the energy demand. This increase in kW demand had a greater impact on the energy cost than the decrease in irrigation hours resulting from high system capacities. The conclusion is that careful consideration of the economics is necessary since smaller delivery capacities require much more intensive management, because longer irrigation hours are needed in order to avoid a decrease in crop yield.
Date Published:01/04/2017
Document Type:Research Report
Document Subjects:Agricultural Water - Small holder irrigation
Document Format:Report
Document File Type:pdf
Research Report Type:Technical
WRC Report No:TT 717/17
ISBN No:978-1-4312-0886-9
Authors:Venter M; Grové B; van der Stoep I
Project No:K5/2279
Document Size:3 064 KB
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