Agricultural Water Conservation: Tools, Strategies, and Practices - Series II

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Use and Irrigation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2022) | Viewed by 32123

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Irrigation and Water Management Advisor, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, 1050 E. Holton Rd., Holtville, CA 92250, USA
Interests: agricultural water management; drainage and water quality; on-farm water conservation; salinity management and control practices; environmental instrumentation and modeling
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Dear Colleagues,

Efficient management and conservation practices for agricultural water use are essential for adapting to and mitigating the impacts of current and future discrepancy between water supplies and water demands. The importance of water conservation in agriculture is fundamental to ensure a balance of sustainability and profitability. While profitability is a primary concern in any sustainable enterprise, farmers typically adopt new tools and practices that result in higher profits or reduced risks. Irrigation management practices that reduce water use with acceptable impacts on production would be viable strategies and cost-effective tools to cope with diminished water supplies and generate new sources of water to transfer for other agricultural uses, and urban and environmental demands.

This Special Issue on “Agricultural Water Conservation: Tools, Strategies, and Practices—Series II” aims to bring together a collection of recent cutting-edge research and advancements in agricultural water conservation. It intends to give a broad overview focusing on advanced irrigation technologies and scheduling, precision irrigation, deficit irrigation strategies, tailwater recovery systems, alternative low water use cropping systems, water conservation practices at farm and district scales, and water management best practices in improving water quality. Case studies and review papers which assess current water management challenges and offer opportunities and potential actions for the improvement of future agricultural water conservation are welcome.

Dr. Aliasghar Montazar
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • advanced irrigation tools and technologies
  • agricultural water conservation
  • deficit irrigation strategies
  • low water-use and drought-tolerant crops
  • precision water management

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

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17 pages, 1554 KiB  
Article
Foliar Application of Zinc Improves Agronomical and Quality Parameters and Biofortification of Cowpea (Vigna sinensis) under Deficit Irrigation
by Abdullah Açık and Feride Öncan Sümer
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1021; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041021 - 30 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1593
Abstract
Due to climate changes, we encounter irregular and low rainfall. It is important to effectively use groundwater and to select crops that can be grown with deficit irrigation in the summer period. Restricted irrigation reduces water consumption but it may cause losses in [...] Read more.
Due to climate changes, we encounter irregular and low rainfall. It is important to effectively use groundwater and to select crops that can be grown with deficit irrigation in the summer period. Restricted irrigation reduces water consumption but it may cause losses in terms of yield and quality. Different agronomic practices can be used to minimize these losses. One of these practices is the application of foliar zinc fertilizer. In previous studies, zinc application was found to increase the bioavailability of cowpea grain. In this study, the effects of the application of zinc fertilizer on yield, some yield components, physiological traits, and grain quality characteristics of three different cowpea genotypes (Akkız, Karagöz, and a Local variety) were investigated under full (100%) and deficit (50%) irrigation. The field experiment was conducted using a randomized complete block split–split plot design with irrigation rates (100% and 50%) and foliar zinc application (0 and 60 kg ha−1) with three replicates used each season (2020 and 2021 growing seasons of cowpea) in the field crops trial fields of the Aydin Adnan Menderes University, at the Faculty of Agriculture, located in the western region of Turkey. Yield and quality characteristics such as grain yield, some yield components, grain protein content, grain mineral matter content, and grain amino acid content were measured. According to the data obtained, a 40% yield reduction was observed under restricted irrigation in the first year of the study. It was determined that zinc application under restricted irrigation increased the yield by approximately 10%. The second-year results found that the amount of essential amino acids such as histidine, phenylalanine, valine, and lysine increased with the zinc application. This study highlights that deficit irrigation conditions caused stress in the plant and caused losses in the yield and quality. Still, the severity of this stress was reduced by foliar zinc application, and it was determined that it positively affected grain yield and bioavailability in cowpea. Full article
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18 pages, 7243 KiB  
Article
Numerical Simulation of Soil Water–Salt Dynamics and Agricultural Production in Reclaiming Coastal Areas Using Subsurface Pipe Drainage
by Peirong Lu, Yujie Yang, Wan Luo, Yu Zhang and Zhonghua Jia
Agronomy 2023, 13(2), 588; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13020588 - 18 Feb 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1673
Abstract
Soil salinization induced by shallow saline groundwater in coastal areas can be managed using subsurface pipe drainage (SPD) for agricultural land reclamation. However, a reasonable SPD system layout should comprehensively consider local hydrological conditions and crop physiological characteristics based on long-term model evaluations. [...] Read more.
Soil salinization induced by shallow saline groundwater in coastal areas can be managed using subsurface pipe drainage (SPD) for agricultural land reclamation. However, a reasonable SPD system layout should comprehensively consider local hydrological conditions and crop physiological characteristics based on long-term model evaluations. The objectives of this study were to test the applicability of a crop growth model (AquaCrop) for simulating winter wheat growth in SPD-applied fields by employing the water table behaviors predicted by the soil hydrologic model HYDRUS. Model calibration and validation based on field observations suggested that HYDRUS accurately predicted the distributions of soil water–salt dynamics, and the seasonal variations of canopy cover and biomass production predicted by AquaCrop were close to the measured values. The simulation scenarios considering the long-term effect of groundwater salinity (10.53, 21.06, and 31.59 g L−1 for low, medium, and high levels), drain spacing (10, 20, 30, 40 m, and no-SPD), and precipitation category (dry, normal, and wet year) on soil solute transport, grain yield (GY), water productivity (WP), and groundwater supply (GS) were further explored using a combination of HYDRUS and AquaCrop. The simulation results indicated that narrowing the drain spacing could improve the desalination performance of SPD, but there was no continuous downward trend of soil solute concentration during the long-term application of SPD when groundwater salinity was constant. The SPD application could improve grain yield by 0.81–1.65 t ha−1, water productivity by 0.13–0.35 kg m−3, and groundwater supply by 6.06–31.03 mm compared to the no-SPD scenarios, but such increases would be less pronounced in dry years with groundwater salinity at the low level. This study demonstrated that the co-application of hydrologic and crop growth models is a feasible method for revealing the effects of SPD on agricultural land reclamation in coastal areas. Full article
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19 pages, 3086 KiB  
Article
Interactive Effects of Nitrogen Application and Irrigation on Water Use, Growth and Tuber Yield of Potato under Subsurface Drip Irrigation
by Amanpreet Kaur, Kanwar Barjinder Singh, Rajeev Kumar Gupta, Abed Alataway, Ahmed Z. Dewidar and Mohamed A. Mattar
Agronomy 2023, 13(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13010011 - 21 Dec 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1816
Abstract
Potatoes are a high-value crop with a shallow root system and high fertilizer requirements. The primary emphasis in potato production is minimizing nitrogen-leaching losses from the shallow root zone through fertigation. Therefore, a field experiment was conducted for two consecutive years, 2018–2019 2019–2020 [...] Read more.
Potatoes are a high-value crop with a shallow root system and high fertilizer requirements. The primary emphasis in potato production is minimizing nitrogen-leaching losses from the shallow root zone through fertigation. Therefore, a field experiment was conducted for two consecutive years, 2018–2019 2019–2020 to assess the effect of nitrogen and irrigation amount and frequency on tuber yield, water balance components and water productivity of potatoes under surface and subsurface drip irrigation. The experiment was laid out in a split-plot design with three nitrogen levels (187.5 kg N ha−1 (N1), 150 kg N ha−1 (N2) and 112.5 kg N ha−1 (N3)) in main plots and six irrigation levels in the subsurface (drip lines were laid at 20 cm depth) and one surface drip in subplots. Irrigation scheduling was based on 100% of cumulative pan evaporation at an alternate (I1) and two-day interval (I2), 80% of cumulative pan evaporation at an alternate (I3) and two-day interval (I4), 60% of cumulative pan evaporation at an alternate (I5) and two-day interval (I6) and 80% of cumulative pan evaporation at alternate days with surface drip (I7). Our results showed that potato transpiration was higher in N1 and N2 compared to N3, while soil evaporation was higher in N3 over N1 and N2. Irrigation regimes I5 and I6 had lower transpiration than I1, I2, I3 and I7, while I7 had more soil evaporation than I1, I2 and I3. Leaf area index (LAI), dry matter accumulation (DMA), root mass density (RMD) and tuber yield in N1 and N2 were at par but significantly higher than N3. The LAI and DMA were statistically at par in I1, I2 and I3 but significantly higher than recommended irrigation (I7). Tuber yield was statistically at par in I1, I2, I3 and I7 but I3 and I7 saved 20% irrigation water compared to I1 and I2. On the other hand, real water productivity (WPET) under N1 and N2 were comparable in I3 and I4 but significantly higher than recommended practice (I7) as pooled evapotranspiration (ET) and soil evaporation (E) in I7 were 19.5 and 20.6 mm higher, respectively, than in I3. Among interactive treatment combinations, N1I1, N1I2, N1I3, N1I7, N2I1, N2I2 and N2I3 recorded the highest tuber yields without any significant differences among them. Treatment N2I3 saved 20% nitrogen and irrigation water compared to all other combinations. Water productivity in N1 and N2 was comparable in I3 and I4 but significantly higher than recommended practice (I7). Full article
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16 pages, 9609 KiB  
Article
Research on Hydraulic Properties and Energy Dissipation Mechanism of the Novel Water-Retaining Labyrinth Channel Emitters
by Yanfei Li, Xianying Feng, Yandong Liu, Xingchang Han, Haiyang Liu, Yitian Sun, Hui Li and Yining Xie
Agronomy 2022, 12(7), 1708; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12071708 - 19 Jul 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1606
Abstract
As a key component of a drip irrigation system, the performance of the drip irrigation emitters is mainly determined by the flow channel structures and structural parameters. In this study, a novel type of circular water-retaining labyrinth channel (CWRLC) structure emitter was proposed, [...] Read more.
As a key component of a drip irrigation system, the performance of the drip irrigation emitters is mainly determined by the flow channel structures and structural parameters. In this study, a novel type of circular water-retaining labyrinth channel (CWRLC) structure emitter was proposed, inspired by the effect of roundabouts that make vehicles slow down and turn. Using the single-factor experiment method, the influence of the hydraulic performance of CWRLC emitters was researched under different circular radii. The internal flow characteristics and energy dissipation mechanism were analyzed by a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation. It can be seen from the analysis that the energy dissipation abilities of the flow channel depend on the proportion of low-speed vortex areas. The larger the proportion of low-speed vortex areas, the smaller the flow index of the CWRLC emitter. Quadrate water-retaining labyrinth channel (QWRLC) and stellate water-retaining labyrinth channel (SWRLC) structures were obtained by structural improvements for increasing the proportion of low-speed vortex areas. The simulation results showed that the flow indexes of two improved structural emitters were significantly decreased. CWRLC, QWRLC, SWRLC, and widely used tooth labyrinth channel (TLC) emitters were manufactured by using technologies of electrical discharge machining (EDM) and injection molding (IM). The physical test results showed that the SWRLC emitter achieved the best hydraulic performance compared with the other three emitters. Therefore, the SWRLC emitter has a broad prospect of application in water-saving irrigation. Full article
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9 pages, 1142 KiB  
Article
Response of Potted Citrus Trees Subjected to Water Deficit Irrigation with the Application of Superabsorbent Polyacrylamide Polymers
by Daniela Cea, Claudia Bonomelli, Johanna Mártiz and Pilar M. Gil
Agronomy 2022, 12(7), 1546; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12071546 - 28 Jun 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1534
Abstract
Searching for new strategies to mitigate the effects of low water availability for citrus production, a study was carried out on potted mandarin cv. W. Murcott, with the objective of evaluating the physiological and growth response of the plants to polyacrylamide gel application [...] Read more.
Searching for new strategies to mitigate the effects of low water availability for citrus production, a study was carried out on potted mandarin cv. W. Murcott, with the objective of evaluating the physiological and growth response of the plants to polyacrylamide gel application in the substrate in water restriction conditions. The following treatments were evaluated, T0 (control) with 100% ETc water replenishment, T1 with 50% ETc water replenishment, and T2 with 50% ETc water replenishment plus the application of polyacrylamide polymers to the substrate. Temperature and water volumetric content (ϴ: m3 m−3) were evaluated in the substrate. Plant water-status parameters such as stem water potential (SWP), stomatal conductance (gs), and chlorophyll fluorescence (Fv/Fm), as well as biomass, nutrients levels, and proline biosynthesis were measured in the plants in response to the treatments. The results showed that the substrate moisture for T2 was kept significantly higher than T0 and T1, despite receiving the same irrigation rate as T1 and a half of T0; however, this higher moisture availability in the substrate of T2 was not reflected in the plant’s water status or growth. On the contrary, the T2 plants showed responses such as lower total biomass, lower vegetative development, and lower root biomass, as well as a higher concentration of proline in the root. According to these results, it is concluded that polymers such as polyacrylamide sodium allow the retention of water in the substrate, but do not necessarily release that water for plants, probably because that moisture is kept in the hydrogel and not released to the substrate media or the roots, or if released, in this case, this occurs with an increase in the concentration of sodium available to the plants, which could lead the citrus crop to a worse situation of water and/or osmotic stress. Full article
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14 pages, 2079 KiB  
Article
Soil-Mulching Influence on Spearmint Oil Yield, Ecophysiological Activities and Essential-Oil Content in Rainfed Environment of Southern Italy
by Sebastiano Delfine, Violeta B. Velikova and Franco Mastrodonato
Agronomy 2022, 12(7), 1521; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12071521 - 24 Jun 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1321
Abstract
The application of soil mulching is widely used to improve crop productivity within semiarid regions of Mediterranean environments. A field study was conducted during two consecutive cycles of spearmint (Mentha spicata L.) within the rainfed region of Southern Italy to evaluate the [...] Read more.
The application of soil mulching is widely used to improve crop productivity within semiarid regions of Mediterranean environments. A field study was conducted during two consecutive cycles of spearmint (Mentha spicata L.) within the rainfed region of Southern Italy to evaluate the effects of straw mulch cultivation practices on crop yields and ecophysiological activities. Four treatments were evaluated: (1) rainfed with straw mulch (RM), (2) rainfed without straw mulch (R), (3) well-watered control plants (W) and (4) well-watered with straw mulch (WM). The rainfed mulch treatment (RM) significantly improved oil yields and ecophysiological activity of the spearmint in comparison with rainfed (R). The rainfed mulch treatment (RM) showed lower inhibition of photosynthesis and smaller diffusive limitations than control treatment, while in rainfed plants (R) photosynthetic activity and diffusive limitations strongly decreased at the end of crop cycle. The average essential-oil content was significantly lower under the W, WM and RM treatments, in comparison to the R treatment, during the full-bloom stages (40 DAT). Instead, at the end of crop cycle, the mulching practice (RM and WM) insignificantly changed the essential-oil content compared with non-mulched well-watered treatment (W), while in rainfed plants (R) the essential-oil content strongly decreased. In addition, rainfed conditions affected the percentage of the three major monoterpenes and decreased the formation of carvone from limonene. Therefore, the current study concluded that straw mulch is an effective management practice to improve growing conditions by decreasing groundwater consumption and to increase oil yields in spearmint within this Mediterranean rainfed region. Full article
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24 pages, 3753 KiB  
Article
Bread Wheat Productivity in Response to Humic Acid Supply and Supplementary Irrigation Mode in Three Northwestern Coastal Sites of Egypt
by Essam F. El-Hashash, Moamen M. Abou El-Enin, Taia A. Abd El-Mageed, Mohamed Abd El-Hammed Attia, Mohamed T. El-Saadony, Khaled A. El-Tarabily and Ahmed Shaaban
Agronomy 2022, 12(7), 1499; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12071499 - 23 Jun 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2077
Abstract
Drought stress is a major factor limiting wheat crop production worldwide. The application of humic acid (HA) and the selection of the appropriate genotype in the suitable site is one of the most important methods of tolerance of wheat plants to drought-stress conditions. [...] Read more.
Drought stress is a major factor limiting wheat crop production worldwide. The application of humic acid (HA) and the selection of the appropriate genotype in the suitable site is one of the most important methods of tolerance of wheat plants to drought-stress conditions. The aim of this study was achieved using a three-way ANOVA, the stress tolerance index (STI), the Pearson correlation coefficient (rp), and principal component analysis (PCA). Three field experiments in three sites (Al-Qasr, El-Neguilla, and Abo Kwela) during the 2019/21 and 2020/21 seasons were conducted, entailing one Egyptian bread wheat variety (Sakha 94) with three HA rates (0, 30, and 60 kg ha−1) under normal and drought-stress conditions (supplemental irrigation). According to the ANOVA, the sites, supplemental irrigation, HA rates, and their first- and second-order interactions the grain yield and most traits evaluated (p ≤ 0.05 or 0.01) were significantly influenced in both seasons. Drought stress drastically reduced all traits registered in all factors studied compared with normal conditions. The wheat plants at the Al-Qasr site in both seasons showed significantly increased grain yield and most traits compared with that of the other sites under normal and drought-stress conditions. HA significantly promoted all studied traits under drought stress, and was highest when applying 60 kg HA ha−1, regardless of the site. The greatest grain yield and most traits monitored were observed in wheat plants fertilized with 60 kg HA ha−1 at the Al-Qasr site in both seasons under both conditions. Grain yield significantly (p ≤ 0.05 or 0.01) correlated with water and precipitation use efficiency as well as the most studied traits under normal and drought-stress conditions. The results of STI, rp, and PCA from the current study could be useful and could be used as a suitable method for studying drought-tolerance mechanisms to improve wheat productivity. Based on the results of statistical methods used in this study, we recommend the application of 60 kg HA ha−1 to improve wheat productivity under drought conditions along the north-western coast of Egypt. Full article
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16 pages, 2403 KiB  
Article
Ridge-Furrow Mulching Enhances Capture and Utilization of Rainfall for Improved Maize Production under Rain-Fed Conditions
by Muhammad Mansoor Javaid, Hussah I. M. AlGwaiz, Hasnain Waheed, Muhammad Ashraf, Athar Mahmood, Feng-Min Li, Kotb A. Attia, Muhammad Ather Nadeem, Muneera D. F. AlKahtani, Sajid Fiaz, Muhammad Nadeem and Hafiz Bashir Ahmad
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1187; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12051187 - 14 May 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2556
Abstract
The capture and utilization of rainwater by crops under various mulching conditions have great importance in agriculture production systems, especially in dry-prone regions. Understanding the effect of mulching on rainwater use efficiency growth and yield of a crop is very important. For this [...] Read more.
The capture and utilization of rainwater by crops under various mulching conditions have great importance in agriculture production systems, especially in dry-prone regions. Understanding the effect of mulching on rainwater use efficiency growth and yield of a crop is very important. For this purpose, field experiments were conducted in 2017 and 2018 to evaluate the potential of ridge-furrow mulching on maize growth and development under rain-fed conditions. The field study compared four treatments, i.e., ridge-furrow without mulch (WM), black plastic mulch (BM), transparent plastic mulch (TM) and grass mulch (GM). The BM treatment consistently increased the soil moisture and temperature, resulting in earlier emergence, as well as increased plant height and plant biomass, compared to the WM treatment. Compared to WM, the two-years mean yield of maize with BM, TM and GM were recorded to be increased by 33.6%, 28.1% and 10.8%, respectively. The BM produced a maximal crop growth rate at 90 days after sowing (DAS) as specified by a greater leaf area index. Transpiration rate and leaf stomatal conductance were significantly higher with BM and TM than with WM, however, the BM treatment showed the highest net photosynthetic rate in both years. Net income for the BM treatment was the highest (USD 1226 ha−1) of all the treatments and USD 335 ha−1 greater than WM. As growth, yield and net income of maize were improved with BM, therefore this treatment was found to be the most effective for maize production in rain-fed conditions. This system is evaluated at a small scale, hence to maximize its effectiveness on a large scale, a simulation design needs to be developed. Full article
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17 pages, 2771 KiB  
Article
Tillage, Water and Nitrogen Management Strategies Influence the Water Footprint, Nutrient Use Efficiency, Productivity and Profitability of Rice in Typic Ustochrept Soil
by Saurabh Tyagi, Rama Krishna Naresh, Rajan Bhatt, Mandapelli Sharath Chandra, Abdullah A. Alrajhi, Ahmed Z. Dewidar and Mohamed A. Mattar
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1186; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12051186 - 14 May 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1922
Abstract
The current study was conducted to assess how optimal tillage water and nitrogen management system are adopted to reduce various field inputs, to improve water footprint (WF), nutrient use efficiency (NUE), rice productivity and profitability. The W1 (CS to a depth of [...] Read more.
The current study was conducted to assess how optimal tillage water and nitrogen management system are adopted to reduce various field inputs, to improve water footprint (WF), nutrient use efficiency (NUE), rice productivity and profitability. The W1 (CS to a depth of 5 cm) achieved significantly higher total water footprint (TWFP) compared to all other irrigation strategies. When N1 (control) and N2 (80 kg N ha−1) was used, the highest TWFP was observed. The rice transplanted on wide raised beds (WBed-TPR) (0.71 kg m−3) yielded the greatest water productivity (WPIRRI), followed by reduced tillage transplanted rice (RT-TPR) and conventional tillage puddled transplanted rice (CT-TPR). The physiological NUE values ranged from 33.3 to 50.6 kg grain/kg N absorption, the values decreasing as the N doses rose. According to the findings, WBed-TPR and RT-TPR plots similarly drank more moisture from the deeper profile layer than CT-TPR practice. In plots of CT-TPR and WBed-TPR, the yield contributing characteristics of rice all increased, while grain yield increased by 16.8% and 10.6% over NBed-TPR technique, respectively. Finally, CT-TPR reported with maximum cultivation costs, followed by NBed-TPR and the lowest in RT-TPR plots, although WBed-TPR had the highest net profit, B: C ratio. Full article
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16 pages, 1483 KiB  
Article
An Assessment Framework to Analyze Drought Management Plans: The Case of Spain
by Julia Urquijo-Reguera, María Teresa Gómez-Villarino, David Pereira and Lucia De Stefano
Agronomy 2022, 12(4), 970; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12040970 - 17 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2646
Abstract
Droughts affect all socio-economic sectors and have negative impacts on the environment. Droughts are expected to increase in frequency and severity due to climate change, which makes their effective management a high priority for policy makers and water managers. Drought Management Plans (DMPs) [...] Read more.
Droughts affect all socio-economic sectors and have negative impacts on the environment. Droughts are expected to increase in frequency and severity due to climate change, which makes their effective management a high priority for policy makers and water managers. Drought Management Plans (DMPs) are a key instrument to deal with droughts and help to prepare for them in a proactive way as a framework for coordinated action before and during droughts. The development of DMPs is still incipient worldwide and their assessment remains limited. In Spain, DMPs at a river basin level were first approved in 2007. Following the legal obligation set in Spanish law, those plans were revised after ten years and a new version was approved in 2018. A content analysis was developed for assessing the 2018 DMPs of eight river basins managed by their corresponding River Basin Authorities, which depend on the Spanish central government. The evaluation criteria were set using the extant scientific literature and official guidelines on drought preparedness and management. The analysis showed that some aspects of the DMPs are especially well-developed, e.g., the distinction between drought and water scarcity, the definition of thresholds to trigger different levels of drought and water scarcity alerts and actions for drought management and coordination. Other issues still need further improvement, especially those related to the analysis of drought impacts, the assessment of vulnerability and the ex-post evaluation of DPM performance. Full article
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19 pages, 3514 KiB  
Article
How Agriculture, Connectivity and Water Management Can Affect Water Quality of a Mediterranean Coastal Wetland
by Lucía Vera-Herrera, Susana Romo and Juan Soria
Agronomy 2022, 12(2), 486; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12020486 - 16 Feb 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3428
Abstract
The Natural Park of Albufera (Valencia, Spain) is an important Mediterranean coastal wetland that suffers continuous environmental effects from human activities and water uses, mainly related to agriculture and urban/industrial sewage discharges. The aim of this research was to assess the water quality [...] Read more.
The Natural Park of Albufera (Valencia, Spain) is an important Mediterranean coastal wetland that suffers continuous environmental effects from human activities and water uses, mainly related to agriculture and urban/industrial sewage discharges. The aim of this research was to assess the water quality of the different aquatic environments of this wetland, taking into account the connection between them, the agricultural impact and the management of irrigation water. The UE Water Framework Directive was followed in order to evaluate the ecological and trophic status of water systems. Spatial approaches were used to integrate physicochemical data into GIS vector layers to map the more problematic points of pollution. The results showed a globally eutrophic system with poor ecological potential. The wetland is nutrient-overloaded during the entire rice cultivation period. Good-quality water inputs are deficient, since the river network already has high levels of nutrients and pollutants, especially in the northern area, where river water is mixed with inappropriate effluents from wastewater treatment plants. Agriculture and water management affected the area intensively up to the Albufera lake, modulating most of the studied variables. The information gathered here can help to optimize the global study and management of the coastal Mediterranean wetlands, which are highly linked to agriculture. Full article
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17 pages, 1977 KiB  
Article
Interactive Effects of Nitrogen and Potassium Fertilizers on Quantitative-Qualitative Traits and Drought Tolerance Indices of Rainfed Wheat Cultivar
by Mohammad Hossein Sedri, Ebrahim Roohi, Mohsen Niazian and Gniewko Niedbała
Agronomy 2022, 12(1), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12010030 - 24 Dec 2021
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 3359
Abstract
Increasing global food requirements and global warming are two challenges of future food security. Water availability and nutrient management are two important factors that affect high-yield and high-quality wheat production. The main and interactive effects of nitrogen and potassium fertilizers on quantitative-qualitative properties [...] Read more.
Increasing global food requirements and global warming are two challenges of future food security. Water availability and nutrient management are two important factors that affect high-yield and high-quality wheat production. The main and interactive effects of nitrogen and potassium fertilizers on quantitative-qualitative properties and drought tolerance of an Iranian rainfed cultivar of wheat, Azar-2, were evaluated. Four rates of nitrogen (N0, N30, N60, and N90 kg/ha), along with four concentrations of potassium (K0, K30, K60, and K90 kg/ha), were applied in rainfed (drought stress) and non-stress conditions. The interactive effect of N × K was significant on nitrogen and protein contents of grains at 5% and 1% probability levels, respectively. Different trends of SSI, STI, K1STI, and K2STI indexes were observed with the interactive levels of nitrogen and potassium. The lowest SSI index (0.67) was observed in N30K30, whereas the highest STI (1.07), K1STI (1.46), and K2STI (1.51) indexes were obtained by N90K60 and N90K90. The obtained results could be useful to increase yield and quality of winter rainfed wheat cultivars under drought stress with cool-rainfed areas. N60K30 and N90K60 can be recommended to increase the grain yield and protein content of rainfed wheat under drought stress and non-stress conditions, respectively. Full article
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Review

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31 pages, 2858 KiB  
Review
Irrigation Decision Support Systems (IDSS) for California’s Water–Nutrient–Energy Nexus
by Gaurav Jha, Floyid Nicolas, Radomir Schmidt, Kosana Suvočarev, Dawson Diaz, Isaya Kisekka, Kate Scow and Mallika A. Nocco
Agronomy 2022, 12(8), 1962; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12081962 - 19 Aug 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 5210
Abstract
California has unsustainable use of agricultural water and energy, as well as problems of severe drought, nitrate pollution and groundwater salinity. As the leading producer and exporter of agricultural produce in the United States, 5.6 percent of California’s energy is currently used for [...] Read more.
California has unsustainable use of agricultural water and energy, as well as problems of severe drought, nitrate pollution and groundwater salinity. As the leading producer and exporter of agricultural produce in the United States, 5.6 percent of California’s energy is currently used for pumping groundwater. These problems and new regulatory policies (e.g., Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program) pressure growers to schedule, account and maintain records of water, energy and nutrients needed for crop and soil management. Growers require varying levels of decision support to integrate different irrigation strategies into farm operations. Decision support can come from the public or private sector, where there are many tradeoffs between cost, underlying science, user friendliness and overall challenges in farm integration. Thus, effective irrigation management requires clear definitions, decision support and guidelines for how to incorporate and evaluate the water–nutrient–energy nexus benefits of different practices and combinations of practices under shifting water governance. The California Energy Commission-sponsored Energy Product Evaluation Hub (Cal-EPE Hub) project has a mission of providing science-based evaluation of energy-saving technologies as a direct result of improved water management for irrigation in agriculture, including current and future irrigation decision support systems in California. This project incorporates end-user perceptions into evaluations of existing decision support tools in partnership with government, agricultural and private stakeholders. In this article, we review the policy context and science underlying the available irrigation decision support systems (IDSS), discuss the benefits/tradeoffs and report on their efficacy and ease of use for the most prevalent cropping systems in California. Finally, we identify research and knowledge-to-action gaps for incorporating irrigation decision support systems into new incentives and requirements for reporting water and energy consumption as well as salinity and nitrogen management in the state of California. Full article
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