Agricultural Soil and Water Engineering
The discipline is evolved from the foundation of the Shaanxi Specialized Water Conservancy Program founded by Mr. Li Yizhi, the modern expert in water conservancy, in 1932, the Water Section of the Northwest Agricultural College set up in 1934, and the Research Department of Farmland Water Conservancy in Northwest Agriculture College initiated by professor Sha Yuqing, the famous water conservancy expert in 1941. The Department of Farmland Water Conservancy Research began to admit postgraduates in 1941. After the establishment of the degree system, this discipline began to enroll postgraduates for masters degree in 1981, and in 1986, started the first doctoral degree program of the agricultural soil and water engineering in China. It was identified as a key discipline by the Ministry of Agriculture in 1993 and 1999. After the merging of the Northwest A & F University in September 1999 the overall power of this discipline has been further strengthened. It was awarded to confer doctoral degree in agricultural engineering in Level II discipline in 2000. After the approval of the Academic Degrees Committee of the State Council in 2003, the discipline was entitled to auto- set doctoral degree in agricultural water resources and water environment in Level-II discipline. The Key Laboratory of Water-saving Agriculture in Arid Areas, Ministry of Agriculture, the Key Laboratory of Agricultural Soil & Water Engineering in Arid and Semiarid Areas of Ministry of Education, and the National Engineering Research Center for Water-saving Irrigation at Yangling were approved to establish respectively in 1996, 2000 and 1999. In 2002 and 2007 the discipline was evaluated twice as the national key discipline.
Among the current staff there are 22 professors (15 doctoral tutors), 26 doctorate degree holders, 1 academician of CAE, 1 chairperson of experts group of the Major Programs of the National High Technology Research and Development Program of China (“863 Program”), 1 convenor for discipline evaluation meeting of the Academic Degree Committee of the State Council, 1 winner in the "National Hundred-Thousand-Ten-Thousand Talent Project", 1 expert with outstanding contribution at the state level, 2 experts with outstanding contribution at the provincial level, 5 experts enjoying government allowance. The research team, with the middle-aged and yong members as the main, is characterized by invigor and innovation.
Since the 10th Five-Year Plan(2001-2005), the research projects fulfiled by the members of the discipline are over 80, including state “863 Program”,Major Sci-tech Research Projects during the 10th Five-Year Period,sub-projects of the state “973 Program”,programs and major programs of the Natural Science Foundation, major national sci-tech demonstration engineering projects,achievements-to-fund projects agricultural science of the Department of Science and Technology and “948 Program”of the Department of Agriculture, and many other horizontal research projects.Among these research projects, Study and Application of Principle and Technology of High-efficient Water Utilization in Agriculture in Northwest China won the 2007's 2nd Grade of State Scientific and Technological Progress Award, Technology and Demonstration of High-efficient Utilization in Agricultural Water in Northwest China, the 2005's 2nd Grade of State Scientific and Technological Progress Award, and Anti-Blocking Equipment and Integrated Development Method of Dynamic Labyrinth Channels of Drip Irrigation Emitters, 2005’s 2nd Grade of National Award for Technological Invention. Besides, Crop High Efficient Use of Water Control and Irrigation Techniques Under Limited Water Supply, Study on Soio-Water-Crop Relationship and their Optimal Regulating Machanism in Loess Plateau and High Efficient Water Use Pattern and Industrial Demonstration in Canal Irrigation Farmland, and Research and Development of Key Equipment for Water Saving Irrigation won the 1st sci-tech progress award of Shaanxi province respectively in 2006, 2003 and 2002. Furthermore, other 6 research achievements won the 2nd sci-tech progress award of the Department of Education and Water Recources and Shaanxi province, 3 achievements the 3rd sci-tech progress award of the Ministry of Water Resources and Jiangsu province. 8 achievenments have been patented. 4 doctoral dissertations have been assessed as the Excellent doctoral dissertations of Shaanxi province, 2 won the National Top One Hundred Doctoral Dissertations, 1 nominated to the National Top One Hundred Doctoral Dissertations. Many of the graduates have won national or provincial awards, becoming the academic leader or backbones in their working units . The discipline has established extensive cooperation with Israel, Australia, Japan, the USA and Hong Kong.
In light of shortage of water resources in Northwest China, the soil and water deterioration of the environment and the low water utilizing efficiency, aiming to greatly increase the agricultural water utilizing efficiency and promote the sustainable use of water resources and the solution to the environmental problems, based on the northwest and the arid and semi-arid areas, characterized with the organic combination of water, soil and plants and the integration of engineering measures with agricultural biological measures, the discipline has formed four stable research directions: the application of water-saving irrigation in arid areas, the research and development of water-saving irrigation equipment and new technology, the sustainable use of water resources and soil and water environment and the theory and technology of agricultural soil and water engineering projects. Major creative achievements have been obtained in Water dynamics in SPAC and water-saving control mechanism, non-full irrigation theory, channels of water seepage control technology, the utilization of high-sand water, radiation wells and light wells. Many achievements have been extended in the Northwest and other areas, have brought huge economic and social profits, contributing a lot to the development of the Northwest countryside and the rural economy.
Through strengthening the construction of the Key Laboratory of Agricultural Soil & Water Engineering in Arid and Semiarid Areas of Ministry of Education, and the National Engineering Research Center for Water-saving Irrigation at Yangling , the discipline become an important base for science research, talents nurturing and international cooperation in the field. International cooperation and exchanges will be further forcified, and researchers are encouraged to publish more influential research paper on internaitonal academic journals to expand the disciplinary influence in the world.
It is expected to reach international advanced level in the application of Water-saving Irrigation in Arid Areas, approach the International advanced level in the research and development of water-saving irrigation equipment and new technology, the sustainable use of water resources and water and soil environment, and reach the national leading level in the theory and technology of agriculture soil and water construction projects.