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The drought of 1977 in much of the Midwest and Western United States again called attention to the need for improved management of our limited water resources in all segments of society. Water conservation concepts and practices for use on dry cropland with some interpretation on irrigated cropland are given for the west-central Great Plains. Strategies are discussed for improved water intake efficiency, including systems to upgrade the quality of summer fallow, snow control, reducing runoff water, irrigation, and deep plowing. Additional strategies are presented for improving water use by crops through soil fertility, better plant stock, matching plant populations with water supply, various cultural manipulations, and improved timing of irrigation. Wind and water erosion—brought about by prolonged drought—and their control are briefly outlined. Results show significant progress of many facets of water management at the research level, some of which have been transferred into commercial farming channels. The transfer of established and new water conservation concepts and practices for cropland will likely be faster and with greater diversity than in the past because of energy and economic pressures.


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