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Water 2016, 8(8), 336; doi:10.3390/w8080336

Water Management Options for Rice Cultivation in a Temperate Area: A Multi-Objective Model to Explore Economic and Water Saving Results

1
Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Milan, via G. Celoria 2, Milan 20133, Italy
2
Rice Research Centre, Ente Nazionale Risi, Strada per Ceretto 4, Castello d‘Agogna (PV) 27030, Italy
3
CREA—Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, Rice Research Unit, S.S. 11 per Torino km 2,5, Vercelli 13100, Italy
4
CREA—Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, Genomics Research Centre, via S. Protaso 302, Fiorenzuola d’Arda (PC) 29017, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Giacomo Zanni, Davide Viaggi and Meri Raggi
Received: 30 May 2016 / Revised: 26 July 2016 / Accepted: 1 August 2016 / Published: 8 August 2016
(This article belongs to the Collection Water Policy Collection)
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Abstract

Due to the changing climatic and environmental conditions, modifications in agricultural and water policies have been made, and irrigated agriculture has to face the challenge of making a rational and optimal use of the water resource effectively available. This urges rice farming, strongly and traditionally linked to water, to change the modalities for the use of the resource. If on one hand water saving techniques should be preferred, a different water management in paddy fields may lead to lower yields and higher production costs, with consequent repercussions on farm incomes. The paper recognizes the disagreement between environmental and economic concerns and aims at contributing to the discussion about how to reconcile them by adopting alternative irrigation strategies. From this perspective, a multi-objective linear optimization model is used to explore the trade-offs between conflicting objectives in a rice-growing area in Northern Italy. The model returns the optimal allocation of land subject to three different irrigation strategies, as those previously performed in experimental fields; in addition, a scenario analysis is run to simulate reduced resource availability. Results demonstrate the key role of prioritizing one objective over the other, while introducing cultivars more suitable for dry cultivation enables enlarging the frontier of optimal solutions. View Full-Text
Keywords: irrigation water; water saving; rice-cultivation; Italy; multi-objective optimization models; linear programming irrigation water; water saving; rice-cultivation; Italy; multi-objective optimization models; linear programming
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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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MDPI and ACS Style

Monaco, F.; Sali, G.; Ben Hassen, M.; Facchi, A.; Romani, M.; Valè, G. Water Management Options for Rice Cultivation in a Temperate Area: A Multi-Objective Model to Explore Economic and Water Saving Results. Water 2016, 8, 336.

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