Irrigation efficiency is a well understood concept among irrigators, representing the proportion of irrigation water applied that is retained in the rootzone for use by the crop.

In an attempt to minimise environmental impacts from irrigation, high irrigation efficiency (>85%) has been promoted.

Irrigation efficiency is related to leaching fraction, in that leaching fraction is a major component of the “inefficiency” proportion of irrigation.

So for example, an irrigation efficiency of 85% implies that approximately 15% (100% – 85%) of the applied water is not stored in the rootzone for crop use, and the majority of this water is assumed to drain below the rootzone, leaching salt with it.

The concept of leaching efficiency is not nearly so well understood.

Leaching efficiency is a measure of the proportion of the water supposedly dedicated to leaching salt from the rootzone, that effectively removes salt.

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