Water management practice for maize production in Chinchimane, Zambezi region, Namibia

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University of Namibia
Agriculture is the greatest water consumer in Namibia and the world at large, it is thus necessary to know the water needs of the irrigated crops for better water management. However, there is little scientific literature on crop water and irrigation requirements in Namibia. Therefore, this study intended to contribute to the body of knowledge on water needs for crops in general and maize in particular, since maize is a staple crop in the selected study area. CROPWAT, a software which uses the Penman-Monteith approach to compute reference evapotranspiration, crop water needs and irrigation requirements, was employed in this study to estimate the water needs of maize in the Chinchimane area of the Zambezi region. Subsequently, a maize irrigation schedule was simulated in CROPWAT based on soil and long-term meteorological data. The study found the minimum and maximum daily crop water requirements for irrigated maize in the study area to be 1.74 mm and 7.49 mm, respectively. In contrast to the seasonal crop water requirement, which was found to be 679.2 mm, the seasonal irrigation requirement was found to be 628.8 mm. Furthermore, the study's estimates of the water requirements for maize fall within the range of values that were reported by some earlier studies in other locations. Additionally, the simulated maize irrigation schedule suggested eight irrigation events in contrast to watering every day. This study's findings can thus assist maize irrigators in Chinchimane to conserve water and reduce unnecessary expenditure while still meeting agricultural water needs, because knowing the water needs of irrigated crops and adhering to an optimized irrigation schedule ensures that water resources are used sustainably, and irrigation water demand is managed
A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of masters of science in water resources management
CROPWAT, Penman-Monteith approach, Reference evapotranspiration, Crop water requirement, Irrigation requirement, Irrigation schedule