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Resources 2015, 4(3), 566-576;

Groundwater Abstraction for Irrigation and Its Impacts on Low Flows in a Watershed in Northwest Germany

Institute of Ecology, Leuphana Universität, C13.015, Scharnhorststr. 1, Lueneburg D21335, Germany
Academic Editor: John A. Luczaj
Received: 8 April 2015 / Revised: 8 April 2015 / Accepted: 15 July 2015 / Published: 21 July 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Quantity and Quality)
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Low flows of the Ilmenau River (1434 km2) in northwest Germany have decreased by about 25% over the last 50 years. In the same period, moderate climate changes have taken place and annual groundwater abstractions for sprinkler irrigation have increased by up to 50 hm3 (million m3), with a strong variation due to the respective prevailing weather conditions. Time-series analyses with multiple regression analysis allow detecting and quantifying different influences on low flows. It is also shown that farmers allocate irrigation water volumes carefully according to seasonal precipitation and temperatures. Decline of groundwater levels in summer and the low flow situation are aggravated by the cumulative effect of higher irrigation in drier years. Groundwater recharge and recovery of the water table have been observed subsequently during the winter season. View Full-Text
Keywords: low flows; groundwater; irrigation; multiple regressions; Germany low flows; groundwater; irrigation; multiple regressions; Germany

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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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Wittenberg, H. Groundwater Abstraction for Irrigation and Its Impacts on Low Flows in a Watershed in Northwest Germany. Resources 2015, 4, 566-576.

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