Irrigation and Drainage Lab.

Considering the global environment from agricultural fields
- Creation of the optimum water environment for
crop production, human, and wildlives

The Irrigation and Drainage program at Okayama University conducts basic and applied research to improve agricultural production and protect water resources for future generations.  Sustainable and environmentally sensitive agricultural practices depend heavily on effective water management.  Students are taught engineering principles that maximize crop production and minimize negative environmental effects.  This is especially pertinent today due to global climate change and increasing populations.

Irrigation and Drainage are simple terms which describe immense topics, each requiring specialized knowledge, understanding, and careful consideration of multiple variables and their interactions.

Nature must be considered first.  From a meteorological perspective, numerous regional, inter-annual, and seasonal variations in rainfall and runoff must be considered to determine and develop effective water management strategies.  During periods of low rainfall and drought, irrigation may be helpful to increase yields or even critical to avoiding crop loss.  On the contrary, during periods of high rainfall, proper drainage designs are necessary to prevent crop damage, and in extreme cases, protect property and lives from flooding.

Topography and infrastructure, such as waterways and dams, and their management, must be considered.  Irrigation and drainage engineering techniques are used to move water across the landscape in a precise and controlled fashion which allows producers and water managers to access the resource.  Care must be given to insure that it is not depleted or damaged.

Farming practices must be considered.  Equipment, economics, and cultural practices influence how producers utilize limited water resources.  Determining how to best apply individual and regional methods that minimize crop water use requirements while maximizing production and minimizing downstream pollution effects is of prime interest in our lab.

As you can see, Irrigation and Drainage Engineering is a very challenging research field.  Our tasks as engineers are not easy, but our research topics are interesting and have great application which directly affects people, humanity, and ultimately, the world.

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