Chris Corbin argues that flood irrigation isn’t the bogeyman it’s frequently made out to be.
Some footnotes Chris and I came up in a twitter conversation:
- Ward and Pulido-Velazquez, PNAS, Water conservation in irrigation can increase water use
- Huffaker, WRR, Conservation potential of agricultural water conservation subsidies
- Pfeiffer and Lin, The Effect of Irrigation Technology on Groundwater Use
This is all related to a post I’ve been cooking up, not yet completed, on the water policy version of the Jevons paradox. Its common formulation involves energy, and the assertion that efficiency measures don’t save as much energy as you think. Given groundwater recharge and return flows, the principle also applies to water.
Great stuff. I’m looking forward to the post. Thanks for the twitter dialogue today. My what a weird world we are living in.
John — please don’t post until Friday. I have an update on this post http://www.aguanomics.com/2011/02/irrigation-efficiency-conundrum.html going up then…
The problem with freakinomics is that most often it doesn’t turn out the way the freaks claim. As Jonathan Koomey found out, the Jevons balloon is full of hot air
Eli – Having spent a good bit of time with the literature on these questions, suffice to say I found Koomey’s piece interesting but in no way dispositive.
More or less than the Breakthrough stuff? The devil in these things is the assumption, and frankly, from watching them work Eli does not have much confidence in the BI folk.
Eli – There’s a fascinating literature on this subject. You’ve found a blog post that claims to debunk a literature you obviously haven’t even read, and that’s good enough for you because it fits with your existing narrative. Can you say “confirmation bias”?
The irony is rich, given your rightful criticism of climate skeptics who do the same…
No, John, Eli has read on this issue over many years, and frankly it looks to him a lot like LeChatelier’s principle. There is a rebound effect, but you end up with a net savings it is just not 100%. Try intelligent motor controllers for a good example.
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