A field study for the arid northwest China has been conducted to find water-saving strategies of drip irrigation for dense-planted crops. The annual water consumption for optimal growth was 420 mm, of which soil evaporation was 27% and the foliage transpiration 73%. A relationship between soil water consumption and the irrigation amount, crop yield and water use efficiency were established. It was found that for high crop yield, it is important to maintain rather high soil water content during the two sensitive growth stages: elongation and milky filling stages. It is concluded that with drip irrigation higher yield was achieved although much less water was applied than what was used in block irrigation experiment.