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Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4763; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124763

Modeling the Impacts of Conservation Agriculture with a Drip Irrigation System on the Hydrology and Water Management in Sub-Saharan Africa

1
Faculty of Civil and Water Resource Engineering, Institute of Technology, Bahir Dar University, Bahir Dar 26, Ethiopia
2
Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, NC 27411, USA
3
Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab (SIIL), Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA
4
Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Temple, TX 76502, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 August 2018 / Revised: 25 November 2018 / Accepted: 2 December 2018 / Published: 13 December 2018
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Abstract

The agricultural system in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is dominated by traditional farming practices with poor soil and water management, which contributes to soil degradation and low crop productivity. This study integrated field experiments and a field-scale biophysical model (Agricultural Policy Environmental Extender, APEX) to investigate the impacts of conservation agriculture (CA) with a drip irrigation system on the hydrology and water management as compared to the conventional tillage (CT) practice. Field data were collected from four study sites; Dangishita and Robit (Ethiopia), Yemu (Ghana), and Mkindo (Tanzania) to validate APEX for hydrology and crop yield simulation. Each study site consisted of 100 m2 plots divided equally between CA and CT practices and both had a drip irrigation setup. Cropping pattern, management practices, and irrigation scheduling were monitored for each experimental plot. Significant water savings (α = 0.05) were observed under CA practice; evapotranspiration and runoff were reduced by up to 49% and 62%, respectively, whereas percolation increased up to three-fold. Consequently, irrigation water need was reduced in CA plots by about 14–35% for various crops. CA coupled with drip irrigation was found to be an efficient water saving technology and has substantial potential to sustain and intensify crop production in the region. View Full-Text
Keywords: conservation agriculture; drip irrigation; water management; APEX model; Sub-Saharan Africa conservation agriculture; drip irrigation; water management; APEX model; Sub-Saharan Africa
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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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Assefa, T.; Jha, M.; Reyes, M.; Worqlul, A.W. Modeling the Impacts of Conservation Agriculture with a Drip Irrigation System on the Hydrology and Water Management in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sustainability 2018, 10, 4763.

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