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Sustainability 2015, 7(6), 6759-6780; doi:10.3390/su7066759

The Water Footprint of Agriculture in Duero River Basin

1
IMDEA Water Institute, c/Punto Net 4, P.O. Box 28805, Alcalá de Henares, Madrid 28805, Spain
2
Department of Analytical Chemistry, Physical Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, University of Alcalá, P.O. Box 28805, Alcalá de Henares, Madrid 28805, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Arjen Y. Hoekstra
Received: 28 February 2015 / Revised: 15 May 2015 / Accepted: 19 May 2015 / Published: 28 May 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprints and Sustainable Water Allocation)
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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to evaluate the green, blue and grey water footprint (WF) of crops in the Duero river basin. For this purpose CWUModel was developed. CWUModel is able to estimate the green and blue water consumed by crops and the water needed to assimilate the nitrogen leaching resulting from fertilizer application. The total WF of crops in the Spanish Duero river basin was simulated as 9473 Mm3/year (59% green, 20% blue and 21% grey). Cultivation of crops in rain-fed lands is responsible for 5548 Mm3/year of the WF (86% green and 14% grey), whereas the irrigated WF accounts for 3924 Mm3/year (20% green, 47% blue and 33% grey). Barley is the crop with the highest WF, with almost 37% of the total WF for the crops simulated for the basin, followed by wheat (17%). Although maize makes up 16% of the total WF of the basin, the blue and grey components comprise the 36% of the total blue and grey WF in the basin. The relevance of green water goes beyond the rain-fed production, to the extent that in long-cycle irrigated cereals it accounts for over 40% of the total water consumed. Nonetheless, blue water is a key component in agriculture, both for production and economically. The sustainability assessment shows that the current blue water consumption of crops causes a significant or severe water stress level in 2–5 months of the year. The anticipated expansion of irrigation in the coming years could hamper water management, despite the Duero being a relatively humid basin. View Full-Text
Keywords: water footprint; water balance; nitrogen leaching; crop evapotranspiration; rain-fed; irrigated water footprint; water balance; nitrogen leaching; crop evapotranspiration; rain-fed; irrigated
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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de Miguel, Á.; Kallache, M.; García-Calvo, E. The Water Footprint of Agriculture in Duero River Basin. Sustainability 2015, 7, 6759-6780.

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