Special Issue "Water Management for Sustainable Food Production"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Use and Scarcity".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2019).

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Narayanan Kannan
Website SciProfiles
Guest Editor
Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Research, Tarleton State University, Stephenville, TX, USA
Interests: development and application of computer models; watershed modeling; water quality modeling; Life Cycle Analysis (LCA); Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL); water-energy-food-climate; pollutant fate and transport
Dr. Aavudai Anandhi Swamy
Website
Guest Editor
Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, FL, USA
Interests: Biological and Agricultural Systems Engineering (BASE) Hydrological and ecological systems; Climatology; Natural resources conservation; Irrigation Engineering

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Increasing agricultural productivity and total production are needed to feed the ever-increasing population. Sustainable food production involves sustained availability of resources, such as water and energy, to agriculture. The key challenges to sustainable food production are the availability of resources at right time. Climate change, including floods and droughts, further aggravate the challenges to sustainable food production. Efficient and smart use of resources, and adoption of less water intensive crop production systems, are the present requirements to achieve sustainable food production. Advanced crop production methods-precision farming, access to low-cost data, advancement in electronic gadgets and smart instruments have opened up plenty of opportunities to agricultural producers to gear up towards sustainable food production. However, the knowledge of managing water in agriculture with existing technology have not reached many parts of the world.  Therefore, this special issue is developed to bring out the knowledge on water management towards sustainable food production in an open access platform.

The aim of this Special Issue is to bring forth the challenges and discuss the mitigation options on the availability of water to both rain-fed and irrigated agricultural production (including animal production) to sustain food production at local, regional, national, and global scales. In particular, the Special Issue will focus on:

  1. Use of Smart technology (electronic gadgets, low-cost data sources, local technology) to manage water to obtain more crop per drop.
  2. Agricultural production under shrinking land and water resources.
  3. Availability of water to agricultural production under historic past and projected future climate change (including floods, droughts, and extremes of precipitation and temperature)
  4. Sustaining agricultural production under population increase with existing water resources.

Dr. Narayanan Kannan
Dr. Aavudai Anandhi Swamy
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • sustainability
  • water
  • agricultural production
  • productivity
  • climate change
  • population increase
  • water resource
  • food production
  • irrigation
  • rain-fed
  • water management

Published Papers (16 papers)

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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessEditorial
Water Management for Sustainable Food Production
Water 2020, 12(3), 778; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12030778 - 11 Mar 2020
Abstract
The agricultural community has a challenge of increasing food production by more than 70% to meet demand from the global population increase by the mid-21st century. Sustainable food production involves the sustained availability of resources, such as water and energy, to agriculture. The [...] Read more.
The agricultural community has a challenge of increasing food production by more than 70% to meet demand from the global population increase by the mid-21st century. Sustainable food production involves the sustained availability of resources, such as water and energy, to agriculture. The key challenges to sustainable food production are population increase, increasing demands for food, climate change, and climate variability, decreasing per capita land and water resources. To discuss more details on (a) the challenges for sustainable food production and (b) mitigation options available, a special issue on “Water Management for Sustainable Food Production” was assembled. The special issue focused on issues such as irrigation using brackish water, virtual water trade, allocation of water resources, consequences of excess precipitation on crop yields, strategies to increase water productivity, rainwater harvesting, irrigation water management, deficit irrigation, and fertilization, environmental and socio-economic impacts, and irrigation water quality. Articles covered several water-related issues across the U.S., Asia, Middle-East, Africa, and Pakistan for sustainable food production. The articles in the special issue highlight the substantial impacts on agricultural production, water availability, and water quality in the face of increasing demands for food and energy. Full article

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Spatial Distribution of Salinity and Sodicity in Arid Climate Following Long Term Brackish Water Drip Irrigated Olive Orchard
Water 2019, 11(12), 2556; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11122556 - 03 Dec 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
The availability of brackish groundwater in the Negev Desert, Israel has motivated the cultivation of various salinity tolerant crops, such as olives trees. The long term suitability of surface drip irrigation (DI) or subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) in arid regions is questionable, due [...] Read more.
The availability of brackish groundwater in the Negev Desert, Israel has motivated the cultivation of various salinity tolerant crops, such as olives trees. The long term suitability of surface drip irrigation (DI) or subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) in arid regions is questionable, due to salinity concerns, in particular, when brackish irrigation water is employed. Nevertheless, DI and SDI have been adopted as the main irrigation methods in olive orchards, located in the Negev Desert. Reports on continued reduction in olive yields and, essentially, olive orchard uprooting are the motivation for this study. Specifically, the main objective is to quantify the spatial distribution of salinity and sodicity in the active root-zone of olive orchards, irrigated with brackish water (electrical conductivity; EC = 4.4 dS m−1) for two decades using DI and subsequently SDI. Sum 246 soil samples, representing 2 m2 area and depths of 60 cm, in line and perpendicular to the drip line, were analyzed for salinity and sodicity quantities. A relatively small leaching-zone was observed below the emitters depth (20 cm), with EC values similar to the irrigation water. However, high to extreme EC values were observed between nearby emitters, above and below the dripline. Specifically, in line with the dripline, EC values ranged from 10 to 40 dS m−1 and perpendicular to it, from 40 to 120 dS m−1. The spatial distribution of sodicity quantities, namely, the sodium adsorption ratio (SAR, (meq L−1)0.5) and exchangeable sodium percentage (ESP) resembled the one obtained for the EC. In line with the dripline, from 15 to 30 (meq L−1)0.5 and up to 27%, in perpendicular to the drip line from 30 to 60 (meq L−l)0.5 and up to 33%. This study demonstrates the importance of long terms sustainable irrigation regime in arid regions in particular under DI or SDI. Reclamation of these soils with gypsum, for example, is essential. Any alternative practices, such as replacing olive trees and the further introduction of even high salinity tolerant plants (e.g., jojoba) in this region will intensify the salt buildup without leaving any option for soil reclamation in the future. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainable Water Use for International Agricultural Trade: The Case of Pakistan
Water 2019, 11(11), 2259; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11112259 - 28 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Sustainable use of resources is critical, not only for people but for the whole planet. This is especially so for freshwater, which in many ways determines the food security and long-term development of nations. Here, we use virtual water trade to analyze the [...] Read more.
Sustainable use of resources is critical, not only for people but for the whole planet. This is especially so for freshwater, which in many ways determines the food security and long-term development of nations. Here, we use virtual water trade to analyze the sustainability of water used by Pakistan in the international trade of 15 major agricultural commodities between 1990 and 2016 and in 2030. Most of the existing country-level studies on virtual water trade focused on net virtual water importers, which are usually water-scarce countries as well. This is the first study to concentrate on a water-stressed net virtual water-exporting country. Our results show that Pakistan has been trading large and ever-increasing volumes of virtual water through agricultural commodities. Despite the overall small net export of total virtual water per year, Pakistan has been a net-exporter of large quantities of blue (fresh) virtual water through its trade, even by fetching a lower value for each unit of blue water exported. Given Pakistan’s looming water scarcity, exporting large volumes of blue virtual water may constrain the country’s food security and long-term economic development. Improving water use efficiency for the current export commodities, for example, rice and exploring less water-intensive commodities, for example, fruits and vegetables, for export purposes can help Pakistan achieve sustainable water use in the future. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Water Resources Allocation Systems under Irrigation Expansion and Climate Change Scenario in Awash River Basin of Ethiopia
Water 2019, 11(10), 1966; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11101966 - 20 Sep 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Rational allocation of water resources is very essential to cope with water scarcity. The optimal allocation of limited water resources is required for various purposes to achieve sustainable development. The Awash River Basin is currently faced with a scarcity of water due to [...] Read more.
Rational allocation of water resources is very essential to cope with water scarcity. The optimal allocation of limited water resources is required for various purposes to achieve sustainable development. The Awash River Basin is currently faced with a scarcity of water due to increasing demands, urbanization, irrigation expansion, and variability of climates. The excessive abstraction of water resources in the basin without proper assessing of the available water resources contributed to water scarcity. This paper aimed to develop a water evaluation and planning (WEAP) model to allocate the water supplies to demanding sectors based on an economic parameter to maximize the economic benefits. The water demands, water shortages, and supply alternatives were analyzed under different scenarios. Three scenarios were developed, namely reference (1981–2016), medium-term development (2017–2030), and long-term development (2031–2050) future scenarios with the baseline period (1980). The results of this study showed that the total quantity of water needed to meet the irrigation demands of all the stations was 306.96 MCM from 1980 to 2016. Seasonally, March, April, May, and June require the maximum irrigation water demand. However, July, August, and September require minimum demand for water because of the rainy season. The seasonal unmet demand is observed in all months, which ranged from 6 × 106 m3 to 35.9 × 106 m3 in August and May respectively. The trend of streamflow in Melka Kuntre was a statistically significant increasing trend after 2008 (Z = 5.33) whereas the trends in other gauge stations showed a relatively decreasing trend. The results also showed that future water consumption would greatly increase in the Awash River Basin. The prevention of future water shortages requires the implementation of water-saving measures and the use of new water supply technologies. The findings of this study will serve as a reference for water resources managers and policy and decision makers. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Analysis of the Effects of High Precipitation in Texas on Rainfed Sorghum Yields
Water 2019, 11(9), 1920; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11091920 - 14 Sep 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Most of the recent studies on the consequences of extreme weather events on crop yields are focused on droughts and warming climate. The knowledge of the consequences of excess precipitation on the crop yield is lacking. We attempted to fill this gap by [...] Read more.
Most of the recent studies on the consequences of extreme weather events on crop yields are focused on droughts and warming climate. The knowledge of the consequences of excess precipitation on the crop yield is lacking. We attempted to fill this gap by estimating reductions in rainfed grain sorghum yields for excess precipitation. The historical grain sorghum yield and corresponding historical precipitation data are collected by county. These data are sorted based on length of the record and missing values and arranged for the period 1973–2003. Grain sorghum growing periods in the different parts of Texas is estimated based on the east-west precipitation gradient, north-south temperature gradient, and typical planting and harvesting dates in Texas. We estimated the growing season total precipitation and maximum 4-day total precipitation for each county growing rainfed grain sorghum. These two parameters were used as independent variables, and crop yields of sorghum was used as the dependent variable. We tried to find the relationships between excess precipitation and decreases in crop yields using both graphical and mathematical relationships. The result were analyzed in four different levels; 1. Storm by storm consequences on the crop yield; 2. Growing season total precipitation and crop yield; 3. Maximum 4-day precipitation and crop yield; and 4. Multiple linear regression of independent variables with and without a principal component analysis (to remove the correlations between independent variables) and the dependent variable. The graphical and mathematical results show decreases in rainfed sorghum yields in Texas for excess precipitation could be between 18% and 38%. Full article
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Crop Performance and Water Productivity of Transplanted Rice as Affected by Seedling Age and Seedling Density under Alternate Wetting and Drying Conditions in Lao PDR
Water 2019, 11(9), 1816; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11091816 - 31 Aug 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Drought is common under rainfed lowlands in Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and with the uncertain onset of rains during the wet season, delay in transplanting results in yield reduction. This study aims to explore ways to ameliorate the negative influence of delayed transplanting [...] Read more.
Drought is common under rainfed lowlands in Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and with the uncertain onset of rains during the wet season, delay in transplanting results in yield reduction. This study aims to explore ways to ameliorate the negative influence of delayed transplanting on rice crop. A field experiment was conducted for two wet seasons to investigate the effect of seedling age and seedling density on crop performance in terms of grain yield and water productivity. The experiment was laid out in a split–split plot design in four replicates, with seedling age as the main plot, seedling density as the subplot, and varieties as the sub-sub plot. In both years, there were significant seedling age and variety interactions on grain yield. Higher grain yields were observed with older seedlings having stronger tillering propensity. Seedling density did not affect grain yields in both years, but on grain yield components. Shorter duration variety received less supplemental irrigation than longer duration varieties. Late transplanting improved total water productivity but decreased irrigation water productivity due to harvesting delay. The total crop growth duration (from sowing to maturity) was prolonged with transplanting delay. However, the total stay of plants in the main field (from transplanting to maturity) was reduced by 3–5 d for every 10 d delay in transplanting. The results indicated that a good selection of varieties and increasing seedling density improve crop performance and water productivity with delayed transplanting. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Groundwater Table Effects on the Yield, Growth, and Water Use of Canola (Brassica napus L.) Plant
Water 2019, 11(8), 1730; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11081730 - 20 Aug 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Lysimeter experiments were conducted under greenhouse conditions to investigate canola (Brassica napus L.) plant water use, growth, and yield parameters for three different water table depths of 30, 60, and 90 cm. Additionally, control experiments were conducted, and only irrigation was applied [...] Read more.
Lysimeter experiments were conducted under greenhouse conditions to investigate canola (Brassica napus L.) plant water use, growth, and yield parameters for three different water table depths of 30, 60, and 90 cm. Additionally, control experiments were conducted, and only irrigation was applied to these lysimeters without water table limitations. The canola plant’s tolerance level to shallow groundwater was determined. Results showed that groundwater contributions to canola plant for the treatments at 30, 60, and 90 cm water table depths were 97%, 71%, and 68%, respectively, while the average grain yields of canola were 4.5, 5.3, and 6.3 gr, respectively. These results demonstrate that a 90 cm water table depth is the optimum depth for canola plants to produce a high yield with the least amount of water utilization. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Intra and Interseasonal Rainfall Variability and Its Effects on Pearl Millet Yield in a Semiarid Agroclimate: Significance of Scattered Fields and Tied Ridges
Water 2019, 11(3), 578; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030578 - 20 Mar 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Establishing food security in sub-Saharan African countries requires a comprehensive and high resolution understanding of the driving factors of crop production. Poor soil and adverse climate conditions are among the major drivers of poor regional crop production. Drought and rainfall variability challenges are [...] Read more.
Establishing food security in sub-Saharan African countries requires a comprehensive and high resolution understanding of the driving factors of crop production. Poor soil and adverse climate conditions are among the major drivers of poor regional crop production. Drought and rainfall variability challenges are not fully being addressed by rainfed producers in semiarid areas. In this study, we analysed the spatiotemporal rainfall variability (STRV) and its effects on pearl millet yield using two seasons of data collected from 38 rain gauge stations scattered randomly in farm plots within a 1500 ha area of semiarid central Tanzania. The STRV effects on pearl millet yield under flat and tied ridge management were analysed. Our results show that seasonal rainfall can vary significantly for neighboring fields at distances of less than 200 m, which impacts yield. The STRV for daily rainfall was found to be more critical than for total seasonal rainfall amounts. Scattering fields can help farmers avoid total harvest loss by obtaining at least some yield from the areas that received adequate rain. The use of tied ridges is recommended to conserve soil moisture and improve yields more than flat cultivation in semiarid areas. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Potential of Deficit and Supplemental Irrigation under Climate Variability in Northern Togo, West Africa
Water 2018, 10(12), 1803; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10121803 - 07 Dec 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
In the context of a growing population in West Africa and frequent yield losses due to erratic rainfall, it is necessary to improve stability and productivity of agricultural production systems, e.g., by introducing and assessing the potential of alternative irrigation strategies which may [...] Read more.
In the context of a growing population in West Africa and frequent yield losses due to erratic rainfall, it is necessary to improve stability and productivity of agricultural production systems, e.g., by introducing and assessing the potential of alternative irrigation strategies which may be applicable in this region. For this purpose, five irrigation management strategies, ranging from no irrigation (NI) to controlled deficit irrigation (CDI) and full irrigation (FI), were evaluated concerning their impact on the inter-seasonal variability of the expected yields and improvements of the yield potential. The study was conducted on a maize crop (Zea mays L.) at a representative site in northern Togo with a hot semi-arid climate and pronounced dry and wet rainfall seasons. The OCCASION (Optimal Climate Change Adaption Strategies in Irrigation) framework was adapted and applied. It consists of: (i) a weather generator for simulating long climate time series; (ii) the AquaCrop model, which was used to simulate the irrigation system during the growing season and the yield response of maize to the considered irrigation management strategies; and (iii) a problem-specific algorithm for optimal irrigation scheduling with limited water supply. We found high variability in rainfall during the wet season which leads to considerable variability in the expected yield for rainfed conditions (NI). This variability was significantly reduced when supplemental irrigation management strategies (CDI or FI) requiring a reasonably low water demand of about 150 mm were introduced. For the dry season, it was shown that both irrigation management strategies (CDI and FI) would increase yield potential for the local variety TZEE-W up to 4.84 Mg/ha and decrease the variability of the expected yield at the same time. However, even with CDI management, more than 400 mm of water is required if irrigation would be introduced during the dry season in northern Togo. Substantial rainwater harvesting and irrigation infrastructures would be needed to achieve that. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Multi-Crop Production Decisions and Economic Irrigation Water Use Efficiency: The Effects of Water Costs, Pressure Irrigation Adoption, and Climatic Determinants
Water 2018, 10(11), 1637; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10111637 - 12 Nov 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
In an irrigated multi-crop production system, farmers make decisions on the land allocated to each crop, and the subsequent irrigation water application, which determines the crop yield and irrigation water use efficiency. This study analyzes the effects of the multiple factors on farmers’ [...] Read more.
In an irrigated multi-crop production system, farmers make decisions on the land allocated to each crop, and the subsequent irrigation water application, which determines the crop yield and irrigation water use efficiency. This study analyzes the effects of the multiple factors on farmers’ decision making and economic irrigation water use efficiency (EIWUE) using a national dataset from the USDA Farm and Ranch Irrigation Survey. To better deal with the farm-level data embedded in each state of the U.S., multilevel models are employed, which permit the incorporation of state-level variables in addition to the farm-level factors. The results show higher costs of surface water are not effective in reducing water use, while groundwater costs show a positive association with water use on both corn and soybean farms. The adoption of pressure irrigation systems reduces the soybean water use and increases the soybean yield. A higher EIWUE can be achieved with the adoption of enhanced irrigation systems on both corn and soybean farms. A high temperature promotes more the efficient water use and higher yield, and a high precipitation is associated with lower water application and higher crop yield. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) suggest a moderate variability in water application and EIWUE is accounted by the state-level factors with ICC values greater than 0.10. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Water Use and Rice Productivity for Irrigation Management Alternatives in Tanzania
Water 2018, 10(8), 1018; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10081018 - 01 Aug 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Rice production is important for global food security but given its large water footprint, efficient irrigation management strategies need to be developed. Expansion of rice growing area is larger than any other crop in Africa due to increasing demand for rice. Three rice [...] Read more.
Rice production is important for global food security but given its large water footprint, efficient irrigation management strategies need to be developed. Expansion of rice growing area is larger than any other crop in Africa due to increasing demand for rice. Three rice irrigation management alternatives with the system of rice intensification (SRI) were field-evaluated against the conventional continuously flooded system (CF) in Tanzania. Production systems included: (1) CF (50 mm ponding depth for the entire season); (2) SRI (40 mm ponding for 3 days and no irrigation for next 5 days); (3) 80% SRI (80% of the SRI ponding); and (4) 50% SRI (50% of the SRI ponding). Experimental evaluation of the four systems was conducted for both wet and dry seasons. For the dry season, the SRI and 80% SRI produced higher yields of 9.68 tons/ha and 11.45 tons/ha and saved 26% and 35% of water, respectively compared to the CF (8.69 tons/ha). The yield advantage of the 80% SRI and SRI over the CF was less during the wet season with 6.01 tons/ha and 5.99 tons/ha of production, and water savings of 30% and 14%, respectively compared to the CF (5.64 tons/ha). The 50% SRI had lowest yield of all for both seasons, 7.48 tons/ha and 4.99 tons/ha for the dry and wet seasons, respectively. Statistically, the 80% SRI treatment outperformed all other treatments over the two seasons with an additional yield of 1.57 tons/ha and 33% (345 mm) water savings compared to the CF. Economic productivity of water (US$/ha-cm) over two seasons was highest for the 80% SRI ($20.27/ha-cm), while it was lowest for the CF ($12.89/ha-cm). Water saved by converting from the CF to the 80% SRI (1.98 million ha-cm) can support a 50% expansion in the current rice irrigated area in Tanzania. Even without irrigation expansion, the 80% SRI can increase rice production by 1.5 million tons annually while enhancing water availability for industrial and environmental uses (e.g., ecological preserves) and help achieve food security in Tanzania and the greater sub-Saharan Africa. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Water and Nitrogen Productivity of Potato Growth in Desert Areas under Low-Discharge Drip Irrigation
Water 2018, 10(8), 970; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10080970 - 24 Jul 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
Narrow profit margins, resource conservation issues and environmental concerns are the main driving forces to improve fertilizer uptake, especially for potatoes. Potatoes are a high value crop with a shallow, inefficient root system and high fertilizer rate requirements. Of all essential nutrients, nitrogen [...] Read more.
Narrow profit margins, resource conservation issues and environmental concerns are the main driving forces to improve fertilizer uptake, especially for potatoes. Potatoes are a high value crop with a shallow, inefficient root system and high fertilizer rate requirements. Of all essential nutrients, nitrogen (N) is often limiting to potato production. A major concern in potato production is to minimize N leaching from the root zone. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to examine the potato crop characteristics under drip irrigation with low-discharge (0.6 L h−1) and to determine the optimal combination of irrigation (40, 60, 80, and 100%) and fertigation (0, 50, and 100%) doses. In this study, the 80% (438.6 mm) irrigation dose and a 50% (50 mg N L−1) fertigation dose (W80%F50%) showed that these doses are sufficient for optimal potato yield (about 40 ton ha−1) in conjunction with water and fertilizer savings. Moreover, this treatment did not exhibit any qualitative changes in the potato tuber compared to the 100% treatments. When considering water productivity and yield, one may select a harsher irrigation regime if the available agricultural soils are not a limiting factor. Thus, higher yields can be obtained with lower irrigation and fertigation doses and a larger area. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Simulation of Crop Growth and Water-Saving Irrigation Scenarios for Lettuce: A Monsoon-Climate Case Study in Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia
Water 2018, 10(5), 666; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10050666 - 21 May 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Setting up water-saving irrigation strategies is a major challenge farmers face, in order to adapt to climate change and to improve water-use efficiency in crop productions. Currently, the production of vegetables, such as lettuce, poses a greater challenge in managing effective water irrigation, [...] Read more.
Setting up water-saving irrigation strategies is a major challenge farmers face, in order to adapt to climate change and to improve water-use efficiency in crop productions. Currently, the production of vegetables, such as lettuce, poses a greater challenge in managing effective water irrigation, due to their sensitivity to water shortage. Crop growth models, such as AquaCrop, play an important role in exploring and providing effective irrigation strategies under various environmental conditions. The objectives of this study were (i) to parameterise the AquaCrop model for lettuce (Lactuca sativa var. crispa L.) using data from farmers’ fields in Cambodia, and (ii) to assess the impact of two distinct full and deficit irrigation scenarios in silico, using AquaCrop, under two contrasting soil types in the Cambodian climate. Field observations of biomass and canopy cover during the growing season of 2017 were used to adjust the crop growth parameters of the model. The results confirmed the ability of AquaCrop to correctly simulate lettuce growth. The irrigation scenario analysis suggested that deficit irrigation is a “silver bullet” water saving strategy that can save 20–60% of water compared to full irrigation scenarios in the conditions of this study. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Year-Round Irrigation Schedule for a Tomato–Maize Rotation System in Reservoir-Based Irrigation Schemes in Ghana
Water 2018, 10(5), 624; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10050624 - 10 May 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Improving irrigation management in semi-arid regions of Sub-Saharan Africa is crucial to respond to increasing variability in rainfall and overcome deficits in current irrigation schemes. In small-scale and medium-scale reservoir-based irrigation schemes in the Upper East region of Ghana, we explored options for [...] Read more.
Improving irrigation management in semi-arid regions of Sub-Saharan Africa is crucial to respond to increasing variability in rainfall and overcome deficits in current irrigation schemes. In small-scale and medium-scale reservoir-based irrigation schemes in the Upper East region of Ghana, we explored options for improving the traditional, dry season irrigation practices and assessed the potential for supplemental irrigation in the rainy season. The AquaCrop model was used to (i) assess current water management in the typical tomato-maize rotational system; (ii) develop an improved irrigation schedule for dry season cultivation of tomato; and (iii) determine the requirement for supplemental irrigation of maize in the rainy season under different climate scenarios. The improved irrigation schedule for dry season tomato cultivation would result in a water saving of 130–1325 mm compared to traditional irrigation practices, accompanied by approximately a 4–14% increase in tomato yield. The supplemental irrigation of maize would require 107–126 mm of water in periods of low rainfall and frequent dry spells, and 88–105 mm in periods of high rainfall and rare dry spells. Therefore, year-round irrigated crop production may be feasible, using water saved during dry season tomato cultivation for supplemental irrigation of maize in the rainy season. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Sustainable Irrigation in Agriculture: An Analysis of Global Research
Water 2019, 11(9), 1758; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11091758 - 23 Aug 2019
Cited by 8
Abstract
Irrigated agriculture plays a fundamental role as a supplier of food and raw materials. However, it is also the world’s largest water user. In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of studies analyzing agricultural irrigation from the perspective of [...] Read more.
Irrigated agriculture plays a fundamental role as a supplier of food and raw materials. However, it is also the world’s largest water user. In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of studies analyzing agricultural irrigation from the perspective of sustainability with a focus on its environmental, economic, and social impacts. This study seeks to analyze the dynamics of global research in sustainable irrigation in agriculture between 1999 and 2018, including the main agents promoting it and the topics that have received the most attention. To do this, a review and a bibliometric analysis were carried out on a sample of 713 articles. The results show that sustainability is a line of study that is becoming increasingly more prominent within research in irrigation. The study also reveals the existence of substantial differences and preferred topics in the research undertaken by different countries. The priority issues addressed in the research were climatic change, environmental impact, and natural resources conservation; unconventional water resources; irrigation technology and innovation; and water use efficiency. Finally, the findings indicate a series of areas related to sustainable irrigation in agriculture in which research should be promoted. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Irrigation Water Quality—A Contemporary Perspective
Water 2019, 11(7), 1482; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11071482 - 17 Jul 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
In the race to enhance agricultural productivity, irrigation will become more dependent on poorly characterized and virtually unmonitored sources of water. Increased use of irrigation water has led to impaired water and soil quality in many areas. Historically, soil salinization and reduced crop [...] Read more.
In the race to enhance agricultural productivity, irrigation will become more dependent on poorly characterized and virtually unmonitored sources of water. Increased use of irrigation water has led to impaired water and soil quality in many areas. Historically, soil salinization and reduced crop productivity have been the primary focus of irrigation water quality. Recently, there is increasing evidence for the occurrence of geogenic contaminants in water. The appearance of trace elements and an increase in the use of wastewater has highlighted the vulnerability and complexities of the composition of irrigation water and its role in ensuring proper crop growth, and long-term food quality. Analytical capabilities of measuring vanishingly small concentrations of biologically-active organic contaminants, including steroid hormones, plasticizers, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products, in a variety of irrigation water sources provide the means to evaluate uptake and occurrence in crops but do not resolve questions related to food safety or human health effects. Natural and synthetic nanoparticles are now known to occur in many water sources, potentially altering plant growth and food standard. The rapidly changing quality of irrigation water urgently needs closer attention to understand and predict long-term effects on soils and food crops in an increasingly fresh-water stressed world. Full article
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