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Original Article

Comparison of traditional and modern deficit irrigation techniques in corn cultivation using treated municipal wastewater



Purpose Declining water resources, increasing drought period and increasing irrigated area cause a shift to deficit irrigated production which is not based on full water requirement. This study was conducted to investigate the impacts of two different deficit irrigation methods, including traditional deficit irrigation (TDI) and partial root-zone drying (PRD) on water use efficiency (WUE) in corn cultivations located at the lands close to the Shahrekord wastewater treatment plant. Methods A factorial design was employed, consisted of fifteen treatments and three replications. The first factor was three water applications, including 60, 80 and 100 (control) percent of plant water requirement. The second factor was three water sources, including 100% fresh water (FW), 50% water and 50% wastewater (5050), 100% wastewater (WW). T-Tape irrigation type system was used for irrigation of corn (Zea mays L.). The third factor was water management in three levels: full irrigation (FI), PRD and TDI. Results The result showed that dry and fresh weight, leaf area index (LAI), dry biomass percentage and WUE were affected by water requirement at 5% probability level expect of height plant that is affected at 1% probability level. Water quality was affected on all the study indicators of corn plant expect of WUE. WUE among PRD by deficit irrigation treatments were higher than TDI and it was the minimum in FI. The dry and wet weight and LAI were maximum at FI and then PDR80 than TDI80. The height of corn plants were high at FI and TDI80 than PRD80. Conclusion Finally, wastewater application in treatment named 5050-PRD80 and 5050-TDI80 compensated water deficit in WUE, LAI and dry biomass percentage. PRD method recognized more suitable than TDI for corn plants.