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Open AccessArticle

Agricultural Water Use Sustainability Assessment in the Tarim River Basin under Climatic Risks

by Jun Zhang 1,2, Minghao Bai 1,3,*, Shenbei Zhou 1,3,4 and Min Zhao 1,3
Business School, Hohai University, Nanjing 211100, China
China Three Gorges International Corporation, Islamabad 44000, Pakistan
Water Resources Economics Research Institute, Hohai University, Nanjing 211100, China
Department of Management and Economics, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2018, 10(2), 170;
Received: 1 December 2017 / Revised: 1 February 2018 / Accepted: 6 February 2018 / Published: 8 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Management within Inland River Watershed)
Proper agricultural water management in arid regions is the key to tackling climatic risks. However, an effective assessment of the current response to climate change in agricultural water use is the precondition for a group adaptation strategy. The paper, taking the Tarim River basin (TRB) as an example, aims to examine the agricultural water use sustainability of water resource increase caused by climatic variability. In order to describe the response result, groundwater change has been estimated based on the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) and the Global Land Data Assimilation System (GLDAS)–Noah land surface model (NOAH) data. In order to better understand the relationship between water resource increase and agricultural water consumption, an agricultural water stress index has been established. Agricultural water stress has been in a severe state during the whole period, although it alleviated somewhat in the mid–late period. This paper illustrates that an increase in water supply could not satisfy agricultural production expansion. Thus, seasonal groundwater loss and a regional water shortage occurred. Particularly in 2008 and 2009, the sharp shortage of water supply in the Tarim River basin directly led to a serious groundwater drop by nearly 20 mm from the end of 2009 to early 2010. At the same time, a regional water shortage led to water scarcity for the whole basin, because the water consumption, which was mainly distributed around Source Rivers, resulted in break-off discharge in the mainstream. Therefore, current agricultural development in the Tarim River basin is unsustainable in the context of water supply under climatic risks. Under the control of irrigation, spatial and temporal water allocation optimization is the key to the sustainable management of the basin. View Full-Text
Keywords: Tarim River basin; climatic risks; agricultural water consumption; groundwater change Tarim River basin; climatic risks; agricultural water consumption; groundwater change
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Zhang, J.; Bai, M.; Zhou, S.; Zhao, M. Agricultural Water Use Sustainability Assessment in the Tarim River Basin under Climatic Risks. Water 2018, 10, 170.

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