Irrigation & Water Resources
Perry Cabot (PhD)

Research and Extension Leader

Phone: (970) 858-3629 ext 202

Email: Perry.Cabot@colostate.edu

Personnel Page

Critical to agricultural security in Colorado is the optimal use of water amidst the pressures of municipal and industrial use, drought and climate variability, and shifting market demands.  Over the next decades, these pressures will intensify, due to the confluence of population growth, water shortages and climate change. The Colorado River Basin in particular faces an ongoing supply and demand imbalance of water resources.  This imbalance affects the Western Slope, as well as the Front Range, with its heavy reliance on trans-mountain diversions (TMDs).  With the majority of Colorado water rights used for agriculture, the next generations of farmers face a pressing need to increase the conservation and efficiency of water use in many forms.

The Irrigation & Water Resources (IWR) program at WCRC-Fruita works with agricultural producers (e.g., farmers, growers, ranchers), industry partners, conservation and conservancy districts, interest groups and other academic institutions.  Engagement under the IWR program supports the creation, evaluation, demonstration and deployment of technologies that improve agricultural irrigation and water resources management.

Automation of furrow irrigation systems to optimize water use and reduce tailwater loss

  • Furrow and flood irrigation is the dominant method used to water fields and pastures on the Western Slope.  Although this form of irrigation is more inherently inefficient than other approaches, modest efficiency improvements (10-20%) are attainable within these systems.  This project includes a partnership with Watch Technologies (https://watchtechnologies.com) to evaluate technology for automating furrow and flood irrigation.  This technology uses telemetric communication between the irrigation delivery point (e.g., gated pipe, canal outlet) and infield soil moisture sensors.  Water delivery to the field can be reduced gradually based on feedback from sensors, thus diminishing runoff, nutrient and sediment losses.

COLLABORATORS: Perry Cabot, Reza Keshavarz, Kevin Gobbo, Jim Fry, Watch Technologies, Trout Unlimited

Sub-surface drip irrigation research and demonstration to improve agricultural water use efficiency

  • Construction began in 2018 on a 5.45 ac subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) system that can accommodate separate control and monitoring of 66 individual plots (each 0.08 ac).  The first phase of the system includes the overall control and monitoring system (e.g., Hunter® ACC-99D controller, Hunter® Hunter ICD-100 decoders), water delivery infrastructure (e.g., Munro® 2 HP pump, Eurodrip® filter, piping) and 22 plots (Rivulis-Eurodrip® 10MIL 0.27 gph T-tape) in the northern portion of the field.  This system supports research on crop water use at varying irrigation application rates, while also establishing a location where farmers can learn about SDI.  This field is managed using no-tillage and minimum-tillage practices.

COLLABORATORS: Perry Cabot, Reza Keshavarz, Kevin Gobbo, Jim Fry

Evaluation of soil moisture monitoring technology to improve irrigation scheduling

  • Soil moisture monitoring technology is widely promoted by agencies and industries alike, as a means of improving irrigation water management.  An ongoing project to understand the drivers that lead to adopting these tools, as well as the barriers that prevent their adoption and use involves partnering with local farmers and interest groups.  There is an interest in using these tools as part of a larger network, if they can be demonstrated to improve yields, increase crop quality and save on labor costs.  Additional outcomes for improving resilience to water shortages, both natural and administrative, provide tangential incentives.  Various sensors are being evaluated including the Irrometer® Watermark© and Decagon® 5TE.

COLLABORATORS: Perry Cabot, Seth Urbanowitz, Colorado River District

Remote-sensing technologies to monitor water stress and evaluate consumptive use

  • Improved measurement of consumptive use (CU) could reduce costs of monitoring and increase reliability of water-sharing programs.  Remote-sensing and radiometric based assessments can better represent actual CU (ACU) since they are much closer to real-time and actual conditions.  These methods have been advocated as an alternative method for estimating actual CU where diversion records are too coarse to quantify CU at parcel scales, empirical models are not sufficiently specific for regional business transactions and program monitoring, and point-based direct measurements are too costly to implement. Monthly ACU measurements could serve as the basis for estimating conserved CU at larger spatial scales on the Western Slope.  The WCRC-Fruita has an alfalfa field and a grass field that are both currently under evaluation for ACU at varying irrigation rates.

COLLABORATORS: Perry Cabot, Joe Brummer, Sumit Gautam

Effects of Minimum Tillage on Irrigation Advance Rates and Soil Moisture Profiles under Furrow Irrigation

 

COLLABORATORS: Perry Cabot, Reza Keshavarz

Design and Fabrication of a Small-Scale Oilseed Processing System to Produce Feedstock for Diesel Biofuels

COLLABORATORS: Perry Cabot, Dan Olsen

Automation of furrow irrigation systems to optimize water use and reduce tailwater loss

  • Furrow and flood irrigation is the dominant method used to water fields and pastures on the Western Slope.  Although this form of irrigation is more inherently inefficient than other approaches, modest efficiency improvements (10-20%) are attainable within these systems.  This project includes a partnership with Watch Technologies (https://watchtechnologies.com) to evaluate technology for automating furrow and flood irrigation.  This technology uses telemetric communication between the irrigation delivery point (e.g., gated pipe, canal outlet) and infield soil moisture sensors.  Water delivery to the field can be reduced gradually based on feedback from sensors, thus diminishing runoff, nutrient and sediment losses.

COLLABORATORS: Perry Cabot, Reza Keshavarz, Kevin Gobbo, Jim Fry, Watch Technologies, Trout Unlimited

Development of Information and Recommendations for Water-Efficient Urban Landscapes

COLLABORATORS: Perry Cabot, Susan Carter, Seth Urbanowitz

Establishment of Beneficial Insect Habitat for Edge-of-Field Buffer Zones

COLLABORATORS: Perry Cabot, Meredith Schrader, Seth Urbanowitz

Master Gardeners and LISA Kit

COLLABORATORS: Perry Cabot, Meredith Schrader, Seth Urbanowitz

Cabot, P.E., B.J. Osborn, J.P. Schneekloth and T.K. Gates. In Review. Irrigation Water Flow Measurement. CSU Technical Bulletin.

 

Cabot, P.E., T.A. Bauder and D.A Dean. In Review. Algae Management in Commercial and Residential Ponds. CSU Technical Bulletin.

 

Cabot, P.E.. B.J. Osborn, J.P. Schneekloth and R.W. Waskom. In Review. Water Allotments and Water Shares on Colorado Land. CSU Extension Fact Sheet.

 

Gautam, S., P.E. Cabot, and J.L. Chávez. In Review. Multispectral Remote Sensing to Estimate Crop Coefficients and Evapotranspiration Rates of Grass Hay/Pastures in Western Colorado. Irrigation Science.

 

Cabot, P.E., J. Brummer, S. Gautam, L. Jones and N. Hansen. 2017. Benefits and Impacts of Partial Season Irrigation on Alfalfa Production. Proceedings of the 2017 Western Alfalfa & Forage Symposium. Nov. 28-30, Reno, NV.

 

Lakshminarayanan, A., D. Olsen and P.E. Cabot. 2017. Effects of triglyceride gasoline blends on combustion and emissions in a common rail direct injection diesel engine. International Journal of Engine Research.

 

Cabot, P.E., C.C. Olson, R.M. Waskom and K.G. Rein. 2016. Rainwater Collection in Colorado. CSU Extension Fact Sheet 6.707.

 

Coleman, C., J.R. Poppleton, P.E. Cabot, J. Clary, K. Fefes, B. O’Brien, H. Piza and R. Waskom. 2016. Citizen’s Guide to Water Conservation. Denver, Colorado: Colorado Foundation for Water Education.

 

Drenth, A.C., K. Denef, P.E. Cabot, and D. B. Olsen. 2015. Evaluation of Industrial Corn Oil as an On-Farm Biofuel Feedstock. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 31(5): 683-693.

 

Lakshminarayanan, A. D.B. Olsen and P.E. Cabot. 2014. Performance and Emission Evaluation of Triglyceride-Gasoline Blends in Agricultural Compression Ignition Engines. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 30(4): 523-534.

 

Drenth, A., D.B. Olsen, P.E. Cabot and J.J. Johnson. 2014. Compression ignition engine performance and emission evaluation of industrial oilseed biofuel feedstocks camelina, carinata, and pennycress across three fuel pathways. Fuel. 136: 143-155.

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