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Article

Water Appropriation on the Agricultural Frontier in Western Bahia and Its Contribution to Streamflow Reduction: Revisiting the Debate in the Brazilian Cerrado

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Graduate Program for the Environment and Rural Development, Faculty UnB at Planaltina, University of Brasília, Vila Nossa Sra. de Fátima, Federal District, Brasília 73345-010, Brazil
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Graduate Program on Environmental Technology and Water Resources, Anexo SG-12, Térreo, Campus Darcy Ribeiro, University of Brasília, Federal District, Brasília 70910-900, Brazil
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Brazilian National Water Agency (ANA), Setor Policial, Área 5, Quadra 3, Blocos “B”, “L”, “M” e “T”, s/n, Federal District, Brasília 70610-200, Brazil
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ART-Dev, Univ Montpellier, CIRAD, CNRS, Univ Paul Valéry Montpellier 3, Univ Perpignan Via Domitia, 34000 Montpellier, France
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Graduate Program on Forest Sciences, University of Brasília, Posto Ecológico, Federal District, Brasília 70297-400, Brazil
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Michael Lathuillière, Michael T. Coe and Marcia N. Macedo
Water 2021, 13(8), 1054; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13081054
Received: 15 February 2021 / Revised: 3 April 2021 / Accepted: 5 April 2021 / Published: 12 April 2021
Over the last three decades, almost half of the Brazilian tropical savanna (Cerrado biome) has been converted into cropland and planted pastures. This study aims to understand the implications of the expansion of the agricultural frontier for water resources in western Bahia state. We use an interdisciplinary approach that combines quantitative and qualitative data (spatial and hydrological analysis, interviews) to tie together land use changes in the Corrente basin, the streamflow and precipitation time series in the Pratudão River sub-basin (part of the Corrente basin), and the perceptions of soybean farmers and smallholder communities about the transformations of the hydrological cycle over the last few years. We observed an almost 10-fold increase in agricultural surface area in the Corrente River basin over the last three decades (1986–2018), going on from 57,090 ha to 565,084 ha, while center-pivot irrigated areas increased from 240 ha to 43,631 ha. Over this period, the streamflow has reduced by 38% in the Pratudão River. Our hydrological analyses, based on the Mann-Kendall test, of seven fluviometric stations and 14 pluviometry stations showed a statistically significant streamflow trend in the Pratudão River sub-basin for both minimum and mean streamflow series (p ≤0.05). Surface runoff coefficient, which relates streamflow and precipitation annual data coefficient, decreased from around 0.4 in the late 1990s to less than 0.2 in 2015. In addition, most precipitation time series analysis (number of annual rainy days) showed no statistically significant trend (p > 0.05). Our results indicate that agricultural changes rather than climate change may be the main driver of downward streamflow trends in the Pratudão River sub-basin that is part of Corrente River basin. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydrology analysis; agribusiness; smallholder communities; water appropriation; western Bahia; Corrente River basin; Brazilian Cerrado hydrology analysis; agribusiness; smallholder communities; water appropriation; western Bahia; Corrente River basin; Brazilian Cerrado
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MDPI and ACS Style

Silva, A.L.d.; Souza, S.A.d.; Coelho Filho, O.; Eloy, L.; Salmona, Y.B.; Passos, C.J.S. Water Appropriation on the Agricultural Frontier in Western Bahia and Its Contribution to Streamflow Reduction: Revisiting the Debate in the Brazilian Cerrado. Water 2021, 13, 1054. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13081054

AMA Style

Silva ALd, Souza SAd, Coelho Filho O, Eloy L, Salmona YB, Passos CJS. Water Appropriation on the Agricultural Frontier in Western Bahia and Its Contribution to Streamflow Reduction: Revisiting the Debate in the Brazilian Cerrado. Water. 2021; 13(8):1054. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13081054

Chicago/Turabian Style

Silva, Andréa L.d., Saulo A.d. Souza, Osmar Coelho Filho, Ludivine Eloy, Yuri B. Salmona, and Carlos J.S. Passos 2021. "Water Appropriation on the Agricultural Frontier in Western Bahia and Its Contribution to Streamflow Reduction: Revisiting the Debate in the Brazilian Cerrado" Water 13, no. 8: 1054. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13081054

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