Agricultural Water Saving: Advanced Technologies for Water Resources Efficient Utilization

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water, Agriculture and Aquaculture".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2022) | Viewed by 19102

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
College of Water Sciences, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China
Interests: water saving and efficient utilization of water resources in agriculture; sprinkler and surface irrigation technology; fertigation scheduling; SPAC system modeling
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Irrigation is critical for agricultural production. Presently, 23% of global cropland areas are irrigated and provide approximately 40% of total food production. Meanwhile, it also uses approximately 70% of freshwater. At the 3rd World Irrigation Forum, India, 2019, it was predicted that by 2030 and 2050, the increasing global population will need at least 40% and 55% more water, respectively. Moreover, climate change increases the uncertainty concerning available water resources. Therefore, water should be used much efficiently by producing more food with each drop of water to support the increasing population and reduce the water shortage risk.

Using advanced technologies, including new irrigation products, crop, soil water and evapotranspiration monitoring systems, remote sensing methods, mathematical models, optimized irrigation scheduling, new agricultural facilities, and related issues, could greatly save water resources and then enhance the water productivities.

In this Special Issue, we want to explore recent advances in water-saving technologies and theories, based on laboratory experiments, field investigations, and physical models. Moreover, papers on non-traditional irrigation water resources, agronomy practices, and the effects of climate change on agricultural water use and agricultural water management policies are welcome.

Guest Editor: Haijun Liu

Keywords

  • water-saving technology
  • irrigation efficiency
  • water productivity
  • modeling
  • climate change

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

20 pages, 4268 KiB  
Article
Irrigation Management Based on Theoretical Requirements Reduces Water Consumption in Apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) Orchards without Effects on Fruit Yield and Components
by Sergio Quiroz, Eduardo Holzapfel, Richard M. Bastías and Jorge Jara
Water 2022, 14(21), 3441; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14213441 - 29 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1639
Abstract
This research examines the effects of two irrigation strategies on water use efficiency and fruit yield components of ‘Royal Gala’ and ‘Brookfield Gala’ apple orchards in south-central Chile. The study was carried out during the 2008–2009 and 2009–2010 growing seasons at two sites. [...] Read more.
This research examines the effects of two irrigation strategies on water use efficiency and fruit yield components of ‘Royal Gala’ and ‘Brookfield Gala’ apple orchards in south-central Chile. The study was carried out during the 2008–2009 and 2009–2010 growing seasons at two sites. A randomized block experimental design was established with two water application treatments: theoretical volume required by the plant (T1) and farm protocol (T2). Soil water content, plant water potential and yield components were evaluated. The soil water content in T2 was near field capacity while T1 was between the permanent wilting point and field capacity for both seasons and varieties. With T1, the seasonal volume applied was 21 to 28% less compared to T2, with season savings of 1600 m3 ha−1. No effect on plant water potential was observed. In ‘Royal Gala’ the lower volume applied in T1 did not lead to significant differences in fruit diameter, weight, or yield in either season as compared to T2. In ‘Brookfield Gala’, yield during the 2008–2009 season increased significantly, by 22.9% in treatment T1, and in the 2009–2010 season, significant reductions (p < 0.05) in fruit diameter (5.3%) and weight (12.9%) were observed in T2. Productivity per volume of applied water in T1 was 32% to 56% greater than that obtained with T2. The results show the effectiveness of the irrigation strategy considering the theoretical volume of water required by the plant. Full article
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14 pages, 2819 KiB  
Article
Water Productivity and Harvest Index Response of Paddy Rice with Alternate Wetting and Drying Practice for Adaptation to Climate Change
by Denis Bwire, Hirotaka Saito, Moses Mugisha and Victo Nabunya
Water 2022, 14(21), 3368; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14213368 - 24 Oct 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2972
Abstract
The current water scarcity and world population increase cause the need for more food, pushing the demand on water resources due to crop production such as rice. Increasing agricultural water productivity by reducing the amount of irrigation water without affecting the yields, especially [...] Read more.
The current water scarcity and world population increase cause the need for more food, pushing the demand on water resources due to crop production such as rice. Increasing agricultural water productivity by reducing the amount of irrigation water without affecting the yields, especially in paddy rice, is necessary. This is possible with alternate wetting and drying (AWD) irrigation. This study was conducted under greenhouse conditions at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Japan to evaluate the response of yield, water productivity and harvest index with different water regimes. The experiment was performed in pots with four water regimes as treatments and three replications, making 12 pots. The water regimes were continuous flooding irrigation as control and three AWD conditions—AWD5, AWD10 and AWD15—in which pots were irrigated when water reached 5, 10 and 15 cm soil depth, respectively, after the disappearance of surface ponding water. Yield components, harvest indexes and water productivity showed no significant difference (p < 0.05) between irrigation treatments. In this research, as there is more than a 25% reduction in water use and only 6.4% in grain yield, AWD15 was considered the best irrigation practice among the other treatments. This study provides data reference for theoretical scientific knowledge and understanding of safe AWD practice for countries facing water shortages. Full article
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13 pages, 2637 KiB  
Article
Estimation of Greenhouse-Grown Eggplant Evapotranspiration Based on a Crop Coefficient Model
by Yinkun Li, Wenzhong Guo, Jiale Wu, Minjie Duan, Yi Yang and Shengyao Liu
Water 2022, 14(19), 2959; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14192959 - 21 Sep 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1659
Abstract
Accurate estimation of crop evapotranspiration (ETc) is important to determine crop water requirements in greenhouse agriculture and to improve the irrigation water use efficiency. Here, a 3-year (2017–2019) experiment with spring greenhouse-grown eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) was conducted [...] Read more.
Accurate estimation of crop evapotranspiration (ETc) is important to determine crop water requirements in greenhouse agriculture and to improve the irrigation water use efficiency. Here, a 3-year (2017–2019) experiment with spring greenhouse-grown eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) was conducted to investigate variation in the crop coefficient (Kc) measured with a weighing lysimeter, adjust Kc based on the local climate (Kc,Adj), and estimate daily ETc using a crop coefficient model. The 3-years mean local Kc (Kc,Loc) were 0.23 ± 0.03, 0.62 ± 0.06, 1.05 ± 0.03 and 0.87 ± 0.03 at the initial, development, mid-season, and end-season stages, respectively. Significant linear correlation was observed between Kc,Adj and Kc,Loc in the 3 years (R2 = 0.873, 0.901, and 0.897 in 2017–2019, respectively). Compared with the FAO-56 recommended Kc value (Kc,FAO), the mean Kc,Adj and Kc,Loc in the 3 years were by 66.3% and 61.8% lower, respectively. The single crop coefficient model accurately estimated daily ETc for greenhouse-grown eggplant. The coefficient of determination (R2), mean absolute error (MAE), root-mean-squared error (RMSE), and index of agreement between measured ETc and that estimated by the single crop coefficient model were 0.94, 0.35 mm‧d−1, 0.26 mm‧d−1, and 0.98, respectively, for the means in 2018 and 2019. Therefore, the crop coefficient method reliably estimated evapotranspiration with adjustment for the actual environment and can serve as a useful tool to improve water use efficiency. Full article
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17 pages, 2738 KiB  
Article
Crop Water Deficit and Supplemental Irrigation Requirements for Potato Production in a Temperate Humid Region (Prince Edward Island, Canada)
by Serban Danielescu, Kerry T. B. MacQuarrie, Bernie Zebarth, Judith Nyiraneza, Mark Grimmett and Mona Levesque
Water 2022, 14(17), 2748; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14172748 - 3 Sep 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2550
Abstract
The global increase in potato production and yield is expected to lead to increased irrigation needs and this has prompted concerns with respect to the sustainability of irrigation water sources, such as groundwater. The magnitude, and inter- and intra-annual variation, of the crop [...] Read more.
The global increase in potato production and yield is expected to lead to increased irrigation needs and this has prompted concerns with respect to the sustainability of irrigation water sources, such as groundwater. The magnitude, and inter- and intra-annual variation, of the crop water requirements and irrigation needs for potato production together with their impact on aquifer storage in a temperate humid region (Prince Edward Island, Canada) were estimated by using long-term (i.e., 2010–2019) daily soil water content (SWC). The amount of supplemental irrigation required for the minimal irrigation scenario (SWC = 70% of field capacity; 0.7 FC) was relatively small (i.e., 17.0 mm); however, this increased significantly, to 85.2 and 189.6 mm, for the moderate (SWC = 0.8 FC) and extensive (SWC = 0.9 FC) irrigation scenarios, respectively. The water supply requirement for the growing season (GS) increased to 154.9 and 344.7 mm for a moderately efficient irrigation system (55% efficiency) for the SWC = 0.8 FC and SWC = 0.9 FC irrigation scenarios, respectively. Depending on the efficiency and the areal extent of the irrigation system, the irrigation water supply requirement can approach or exceed both the GS and annual groundwater recharge. The methodology developed in this research has been translated into a free online tool (SWIB—Soil Water Stress, Irrigation Requirement and Water Balance), which can be applied to other areas or crops where an estimation of soil water deficit and irrigation requirement is sought. Full article
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19 pages, 5196 KiB  
Article
Tomato Evapotranspiration, Crop Coefficient and Irrigation Water Use Efficiency in the Winter Period in a Sunken Chinese Solar Greenhouse
by Li Yang, Haijun Liu, Xiaopei Tang and Lun Li
Water 2022, 14(15), 2410; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14152410 - 3 Aug 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2904
Abstract
In the Northern China Plain (NCP), sunken solar greenhouses (SSG) are now increasingly being used for vegetable cultivation in winter due to low winter temperatures. Investigating plant transpiration and determining crop coefficients are helpful when developing irrigation scheduling and improving crop growth. In [...] Read more.
In the Northern China Plain (NCP), sunken solar greenhouses (SSG) are now increasingly being used for vegetable cultivation in winter due to low winter temperatures. Investigating plant transpiration and determining crop coefficients are helpful when developing irrigation scheduling and improving crop growth. In this study, a three-season experiment was conducted in a commercial tomato SSG to investigate changes in microclimate, sap flow (SF), photosynthesis traits and plant physiological parameters, and to calculate the crop coefficient and evaluate the irrigation efficiency using current irrigation management practices. Results show that the average transmissivity from top plastic covers was 0.69, and the inside temperature increased by approximately 10 °C in November and 15–18 °C in December, which guaranteed the growth of tomatoes in winter. The leaf photosynthesis rate (Pn) is linearly related to radiation, however, a concave quadratic function is a better fit for Pn and VPD, with the highest Pn at approximately 1.0 kPa VPD; leaf transpiration is positively and linearly related to both radiation and VPD. Therefore, increasing greenhouse transmissivity and maintaining an internal VPD of approximately 1 kPa could produce a high leaf Pn and low transpiration concurrently. Daily total SF was linearly correlated with solar radiation, VPD and temperature with determination coefficients of 0.87–0.96, 0.89–0.91 and 0.62–0.84, respectively. Correcting the slope of SF to radiation with VPD (SF = (0.12 + 0.14VPD)Rs), R2 increased by 0.08, and the root mean square error and relative error decreased by 0.047 mm day−1 and 6.53%, respectively. Therefore, this integrated equation is recommended to estimate daily tomato transpiration when plant height is approximately 1.5 m, and the leaf area index (LAI) is between 2 and 2.5. During the fruit expansion and ripening period, the average basal crop coefficients (Kcb) for greenhouse tomatoes in winter was between 0.99 and 1.11. The irrigation efficiency increased from 0.3 in the first season to 0.6–0.69 in the second and third seasons when the tensiometer method was used. Therefore, using the tensiometer method to guide tomato irrigation could markedly improve irrigation efficiency in greenhouses. Full article
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17 pages, 3500 KiB  
Article
Water-Saving Potential of Different Agricultural Management Practices in an Arid River Basin
by Wang Zhang, Yong Tian, Yu Feng, Jie Liu and Chunmiao Zheng
Water 2022, 14(13), 2072; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14132072 - 29 Jun 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2193
Abstract
Water scarcity threatens food security in arid areas, highlighting the importance of water-saving agriculture for food production. Agricultural management practices are developed to improve water-use efficiency, and their water-saving effects are generally evaluated at the field scale rather than the regional scale. To [...] Read more.
Water scarcity threatens food security in arid areas, highlighting the importance of water-saving agriculture for food production. Agricultural management practices are developed to improve water-use efficiency, and their water-saving effects are generally evaluated at the field scale rather than the regional scale. To figure out the regional water-saving potential of irrigation methods and mulching practices, the FAO AquaCrop model was first calibrated and validated at the three experimental stations. With aggregating spatial information, a distributed model was constructed and validated in a typical arid river basin of northwest China. Twelve combinations of soil mulching (plastic and straw) and irrigation methods (basin, furrow, drip, and subsurface drip) were simulated using the model to evaluate the effect of agricultural management practices on crop evapotranspiration (ET), crop water productivity, and regional water consumption. The results showed that soil mulching, advanced irrigation methods, and their combinations reduced noneffective soil evaporation (E) and the E/ET ratios and improved crop water productivity. Plastic mulching combined with subsurface drip irrigation is the most promising practice, increasing the crop water productivity of seed maize and spring wheat by 18.2% and 11.1% on average and reducing regional crop water consumption by 7.7% (75.0 million m3) and 7.4% (72.7 million m3), respectively. The reduction in irrigation water extraction ranged from 20.6% under furrow irrigation with straw mulching to 68.7% under subsurface drip irrigation with plastic mulching. This study quantitatively assessed the water-saving potential of soil mulching, irrigation methods, and their combinations to reduce agricultural water use, offering practical implications for the management and development of water-saving agriculture in arid areas. Full article
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27 pages, 13558 KiB  
Article
A Novel Prediction and Planning Model for the Benefit of Irrigation Water Allocation Based on Deep Learning and Uncertain Programming
by Weibing Jia, Zhengying Wei and Lei Zhang
Water 2022, 14(5), 689; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14050689 - 22 Feb 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1618
Abstract
Due to population growth and human activities, water shortages have become an increasingly serious concern in the North China Plain, which has become the world’s largest underground water funnel. Because the yield per unit area, planting area of crops, and effective precipitation in [...] Read more.
Due to population growth and human activities, water shortages have become an increasingly serious concern in the North China Plain, which has become the world’s largest underground water funnel. Because the yield per unit area, planting area of crops, and effective precipitation in the region are uncertain, it is not easy to plan the amount of irrigation water for crops. In order to improve the applicability of the uncertainty programming model, a hybrid LSTM-CPP-FPP-IPP model (long short-term memory, chance-constrained programming, fuzzy possibility programming, interval parameter programming) was developed to plan the irrigation water allocation of irrigation system under uncertainty. The LSTM (long short-term memory) model was used to predict crop yield per unit area, and CPP-FPP-IPP programming (chance-constrained programming, fuzzy possibility programming, interval parameter programming) was used to plan the crop area and the effective precipitation under uncertainty. The hybrid model was used for the crop production profit of winter wheat and summer corn in five cities in the North China Plain. The average absolute error between the model prediction value and the actual value of the yield per unit area of winter wheat and summer maize in four cities in 2020 was controlled within the range of 14.02 to 696.66 kg/hectare. It shows that the model can more accurately predict the yield per unit area of crops. The planning model for the benefit of irrigation water allocation generated three scenarios of rainfall level and four planting intentions, and compared the planned scenarios with the actual production benefits of the two crops in 2020. In a dry year, the possibility of planting areas for winter wheat and summer corn is optimized. Compared with the traditional deterministic planning method, the model takes into account the uncertain parameters, which helps decision makers seek better solutions under uncertain conditions. Full article
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23 pages, 8079 KiB  
Article
The Spatial Variation Mechanism of Size, Velocity, and the Landing Angle of Throughfall Droplets under Maize Canopy
by Zhongrui Zhu, Delan Zhu and Maosheng Ge
Water 2021, 13(15), 2083; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13152083 - 30 Jul 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2049
Abstract
Larger diameter and velocity and smaller landing angle of sprinkler irrigation droplets are more likely to cause soil splash and erosion. However, the mechanism of crop canopy influence on the physical parameters of sprinkler droplets is unknown. In this study, with the landing [...] Read more.
Larger diameter and velocity and smaller landing angle of sprinkler irrigation droplets are more likely to cause soil splash and erosion. However, the mechanism of crop canopy influence on the physical parameters of sprinkler droplets is unknown. In this study, with the landing angle of sprinkler irrigation droplets as the independent variable and maize plants (Zea mays L.) as the research object, an indoor sprinkler irrigation experiment was carried out. The effects of maize canopy and variation in sprinkler irrigation droplets landing angle on the value and spatial distribution pattern of size, the velocity, and the landing angle of throughfall droplets was analyzed. In addition, the spatial variation patterns of throughfall droplets size, velocities’ distribution, and individual droplet’s speed, kinetic energy were also explored. The results showed that maize canopy and the decreasing of the sprinkler irrigation droplet landing angle had a positive and obvious effect on reducing the size and velocity of penetrating rain droplets. However, the throughfall droplets’ landing angles were only small variations. When the landing angle of sprinkler irrigation droplets was >45°, the spatial distribution of throughfall droplets size and velocity corresponded well with the canopy structure and leaf projection area of maize, i.e., the further away from the maize stalk, the larger the size and velocity of throughfall droplets. Nevertheless, if the landing angle of sprinkler irrigation droplets was <45°, the spatial distribution mentioned above was mainly affected by droplets landing angle. The spatial variation of throughfall droplets’ size and velocities at different measurement points was attributed to the change of the larger droplets’ volume proportion and the equivalent velocity. Although the maize leaves had a certain degree of perturbation effect on the velocities and kinetic energy of the larger kinetic energy droplets, the flight path of these drops did not alter significantly. The results of this research will be of practical value in guiding the development of a new sprayer and the optimum selection of sprinkler heads. Full article
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