ABC of the hydrological balance

Questions and answers about this fundamental parameter for proper planning and management of irrigation in a productive unit.

What is the hydrological balance?

It is the difference between the amount of water available on the property, either from surface sources or wells, and the amount required to irrigate crops.

What is the difference with the water balance?

The water balance is a method to program irrigation and make efficient and sustainable water management. It is a kind of soil water accounting in which moisture gains and losses are recorded.

What is the hydrological balance for?

It is used to plan irrigation, since from the hydrological balance the water supply is determined in terms of a reliable and permanent flow over time, during dry seasons. If the availability of water in the sources does not cover the irrigation requirements, it is necessary to estimate the flows during the rainy season to calculate the feasibility of storing these surpluses and using them in the irrigation periods.

It also serves to request a water concession from the environmental authority, in this case the Valle del Cauca Regional Autonomous Corporation (CVC).

In addition, it allows identifying whether works such as regulation reservoirs, wells, systems for the use of surplus water or more efficient systems for applying irrigation are required.

How is the calculation done?

It is equal to the supply minus the demand for water from the farm. To carry out the calculations, different situations must be taken into account, such as whether weekly regulation reservoirs, rainy season, reservoirs or deep wells, among others, are used. All these situations must be taken into account by the person in charge of the calculation.

Ready to calculate

A total of 90 professionals from sugar mills in the region, including zone managers and technical assistants, were trained by Cenicaña in the calculation of the hydrological balance within the framework of the Learning and Technical Assistance Program (PAT).

In this way, sugar cane suppliers have professional personnel duly trained to calculate supply and demand in the production units.

Contact your wits.

To consult

In the book: Efficient management of irrigation in the cultivation of sugarcane in the geographic valley of the Cauca River, the different ways of calculating the hydrological balance according to the type of water source are explained.
Available in the Cenicaña library. 

Information letter
Year 4 / Number 2 / April 2016

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