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Increasing Irrigation W ater P roductivity for Rice C rop Presented by M. A. Mahmoud , Ph.D

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Increasing Irrigation W ater P roductivity for Rice C rop Presented by M. A. Mahmoud , Ph.D. Introduction. Land Resources. Cultivated & reclaimed agricultural lands (million fed.). Water Resources. Water resources in 2007 in Egypt (Milliard m3 / year ). Water usage in 2007

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Land Resources

Cultivated & reclaimed agricultural lands (million fed.)


Water Resources

Water resources in 2007

in Egypt

(Milliard m3 / year )

Water usage in 2007

in Egypt

(Milliard m3 / year)

Total = 69.1 Milliard m3 / year

Total = 71.2 Milliard m3 / year

Different = +2.1 Milliard m3


Water availability

Population growth


Some indicators of the current status of Egypt’s agricultural sector*


* Source: Agricultural Research & Development Council 2007


Water resources 2017

in Egypt

(Milliard m3 / year )

Water usage 2017

in Egypt

(Milliard m3 / year)

Total = 79.3 Milliard m3 / year

Total = 76.6 Milliard m3 / year

Different = -3.3 Milliard m3


Water resources in Egypt is limited. Therefore, saving water is a vital demand to face this problem.

The agricultural sector consumes about 85% of total amount of water resources.

Overall irrigation efficiency for surface irrigation in Egypt is very low(40 - 60%).


Rice (Oryza Sativa L.) is considered the second important food crop after wheat and it is a main food crop for more than half of the world population in the world.

A predominant proportion of the global rice harvest comes from regions at latitudes between 30° N and 30° S, (FAOSTAT, 2004).


Average water requirement for irrigated rice

S1. Farm operation / Consumptive use

No. process of water (mm)

1 – Land preparation 150 – 200

2 – Evapo – transpiration 500 – 1200

3 – Seepage and percolation 200 – 700

4 – Mid season drainage 50 – 100

Total 900 – 2250

Source: FAOSTAT, 2004


In Egypt, rice is considered to be the second export crop after cotton. It is grown in an area of 1.2 million feddan.

About 10 billion m3 of irrigation water is being used in rice production in North Delta, Egypt. This amount represents about 18.0% of the whole amount of irrigation water used in the agricultural sector amounting 55.5 billion m3.


2. Effect of rice planting on some physical properties of the soil:

De Datta (1981) reported that bulk density increased from 1.55 to 1.71 gm/cm3 due to puddling process under rice. However, he stated that puddling reduces hydraulic conductivity and infiltration rate of soil .

Paddy soil profile forms a hard pan and sub soil, due to accumulative clay or humus and clay, IRRI, (1987).


Singh et al. (2002) reported that puddling significantly reduced infiltration rate. Soil management during rice season had marked effect on the infiltration rate during wheat season. Puddling for rice reduced infiltration rate significantly even in the following wheat season up to crop harvesting.

Janssen and Lennartz (2006) found that the average infiltration rates (geometric mean) for three paddy fields with a cultivation history of 3, 20 and 100 years were 28.0, 0.79 and 0.16 cm/day, respectively, demonstrating a strong dependence of the infiltration rate from the age of the field. Puddling reduced the percolation rate about 35-fold after 20 years and 175-fold after 100 years of paddy cultivation .


Mahmoud (2008) indicated that the highest values of wheat yield (grain and straw) were obtained after maize and tomato in comparison to after rice. This may be due to better structure state and optimum total porosity, because of decrease the values of bulk density Gommaa (2004) and increase infiltration rate, mean weight diameter and aggregation index. Also, the highest values of total nitrogen before wheat planting. While the lowest wheat yield (grain and straw) were obtained after rice. Which increase the values of bulk density and decrease the values of total porosity, Hassan (2007) infiltration rate, mean weight diameter and aggregation index may be due to puddling for rice Singh (2002) and Peeyush et al. (2005). Also, he indicated that the values of NPK uptake for wheat decreased for wheat after rice. This may be due to increase bulk density and infiltration rate and decrease total porosity.


3. Effect of submerged water heads on water requirements and rice yield:

Hilal and El-Refai (1974) studied the effect of different water regimes (5000, 6500, 8000, 9500 and 11000 m3/fed) on rice. They found that a maximum grain and straw yields were obtained at water amount of 8000 m3/fed.

Abd El-Hafez (1982) reported that the actually measured water requirements of rice in the North Delta were found to be 6900-7000 m3/fed. Which may be put into consideration when planning the irrigation policy of the region.


El-Mowelhi et al. (1984) studied the effect of water depth i.e. 5 and 10 cm with zinc application on rice plant , their results indicated that all treatments had no significant effect on rice grain yield and increase in water depth over 5 cm was waste water.

El-Saiad (2008) found that the field water use efficiency was decreased with increasing the mount of irrigation water . Consequently , continuous submerged water head up to 3cm could be recommended by rice crop watering to produce an economical production with less water consumption . dry leveling with manual transplanting could be also recommended by rice cultivation to have a good rice yields (grain and straw) without any degradation or damage of the soil physical properties .


4. Effect of new planting methods on water saving and rice yield:

Geethalakshmi et al. (2008) revealed that maximum number of tillers /plant ,higher shoot and root length and length at maturity were recorded under system of rice intensification (SRI) (application of 2.5 cm depth of water after the hairline crack was followed in ) flowed by transplanting rice (immediately after disappearance of standing water irrigation at 5cm depth was applied) ,while, aerobic rice produced lower growth parameters (it was irrigated once in 3-4 days intervals depending on weather condition).Under SRI, 5% increase in grain yield and 14.5% water saving were noticed compared to transplanted rice. With respect to water productivity ,SRI method of rice cultivation registered the higher water productivity (0.43 kg/m3) ,followed by aerobic rice cultivation .The conventional rice cultivation (0.36 kg/m3).


Abd El-Hafez and El -Bably (2009) showed that using sprinkler irrigation technology surpassed flooding method saving in irrigation water applied by 25.5% because amount of irrigation water applied reached 129.7 cm under sprinkler system, whereas it was 174.0 cm with the flooding system.

Under sprinkler technology, drill method received the highest amount of water to be 133.3 cm compared to transplanting method which was 126.1 cm. while under flooding irrigation, the amount of water applied were 185.25 cm and 162.9 cm for seed drill and transplanting methods respectively. Sprinkler irrigation with 120% of ETC enhanced field water use efficiency by 12.01% more that irrigated with 100% of ETC.


Transplanting in bottom of beds could be used by the farmers’ because it increased PIW by 53% and saved water by 34% compared with traditional which in normally practiced in North Delta, Egypt.


1200000 fed



4.808 billion m3

Saved IW=34.4%

2.518 billion m3

Rice=628400 fed.


1200000 * 6105

7.326 billion m3



  • Traditional planting methods of rice consumptive more amount of water and have bad effect on soil physical properties.
  • It should be more cooperation between breading team and agronomy team to product hybrid varieties has a tolerant to drought.
  • We should use anew planting methods which saving irrigation water and more available to simple farmers.