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Environmental and Economic Sustainability Assessment for Two Different Sprinkler and A Drip Irrigation Systems: A Case Study on Maize Cropping

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Land Environment Resources and Health (LERH) PhD Programme, Territorio e Sistemi Agro-Forestali (TESAF) Department, Università degli studi di Padova, Viale dell’Università 16, 35020 Legnaro, Italy
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Territorio e Sistemi Agro-Forestali (TESAF) Department, Università degli studi di Padova, Viale dell’Università 16, 35020 Legnaro, Italy
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agriculture 2019, 9(9), 187; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9090187
Received: 25 July 2019 / Revised: 22 August 2019 / Accepted: 26 August 2019 / Published: 29 August 2019
Water scarcity is worsened by climate change. Water savings can be reached by improving irrigation efficiency both on farm and on water supply. To do that, the choice of the best irrigation technology is not always straightforward, because farmers need to renew and implement farm infrastructures for irrigation. This study compares three irrigation systems, one drip irrigation and two sprinkler (center pivot and hose-reel) systems, on environmental, economic, and energetic performance under irrigated and non-irrigated maize cropping. The study combines impact and efficiency indicators, addressing a sustainability analysis for the irrigation practice under the three different irrigation systems. The sustainability for the irrigation systems was assessed using water-related indicators (water use efficiency, irrigation water use efficiency, and water footprint), biomass (crop growth rate, relative growth rate, harvest index, and yield response factor), and energy indicators (energy footprint, performance, and energy cost footprint) for the environmental aspect; and the economic-based indicators (water productivity and economic water footprint) for the economic aspect. Main results address the center pivot system as the best solution for irrigation practice since it demonstrated higher economic and environmental performance. Moreover, maize under the pivot system allowed a higher biomass production, economic benefits, and water use efficiency. View Full-Text
Keywords: efficiency; footprint; indicators; hose-reel; center pivot; water consumption efficiency; footprint; indicators; hose-reel; center pivot; water consumption
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MDPI and ACS Style

Borsato, E.; Martello, M.; Marinello, F.; Bortolini, L. Environmental and Economic Sustainability Assessment for Two Different Sprinkler and A Drip Irrigation Systems: A Case Study on Maize Cropping. Agriculture 2019, 9, 187.

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