Special Issue "Innovation Issues in Water, Agriculture and Food"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water–Food–Energy Nexus".

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

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

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Maria do Rosario Cameira E-Mail
LEAF–Research Center on Landscape, Environment, Agriculture and Food, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal
Phone: 21 365 3478
Interests: water resources management; solute transport in soils; agricultural systems modeling; impact assessment of agricultural practices upon soil and water quality
Guest Editor
Prof. Luis Santos Pereira Website E-Mail
LEAF–Research Center on Landscape, Environment, Agriculture and Food, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: irrigation management; evapotranspiration and water use; water productivity and performance; droughts and water scarcity; simulation models

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Agriculture’s first challenge is to produce enough food for a continued increase in population, in a context where the increased demand for food is associated with ever-growing competition for water and land, climate change and uncertainty, man-made and droughts of water scarcity, poor supply reliability, decline in critical ecosystem services, less-participatory water resources governance, and changing regulatory environments. Facing such a challenging context implies innovative issues in agricultural water management, particularly in irrigation to cope with water scarcity, environmental friendliness, and rural society welfare.

Innovation issues in the water–agriculture–food complex aim at various essential problems and objectives: (a) developing integrated approaches to water and food policies and practices; (b) improving water management in agriculture; (c) adaptation of agricultural systems to enhance water use and water productivity to face water scarcity and climate change; (d) ensuring sustainable management and conservation of natural and man-made ecosystems favoring high quality food production; and (e) fostering a participative and inclusive governance of water for food security and population welfare. These large themes should fully cover challenges faced by the irrigated agriculture, which represents 16% of the world cropped area, but is expected to produce 44% of world food by 2050.

Numerous studies and information are produced on these various topics and this Water Special Issue is an opportunity to gather together different approaches, referring to a variety of technologies and to contrast social and economic environments. This Special Issue is, therefore, expected to include a diversity of approaches on water and agriculture aiming at food production, and thus focused on irrigation water use. In this Special Issue, submissions should focus on irrigation crops management, water saving, use of wastewater and recycling, irrigation methods and systems design, water conveyance and distribution systems, improved yields and crop production, food quality impacts of irrigation, as well as coping with climate change, irrigation water governance and environmental and social impacts of irrigation.

Keywords

  • Crops water use and productivity
  • Food quality and irrigation
  • Rain-fed and irrigated agriculture
  • Climate change
  • Wastewater use and treatment
  • Fertilizers and chemicals
  • Coping with salinity
  • Irrigation scheduling
  • Irrigation systems
  • Simulation models
  • Decision support systems
  • Issues to cope with droughts
  • Irrigation water governance
  • Social and economic issues
  • Environmental friendliness

Published Papers (23 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Innovation Issues in Water, Agriculture and Food
Water 2019, 11(6), 1230; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11061230 - 12 Jun 2019
Abstract
The main challenge faced by agriculture is to produce enough food for a continued increase in population, however in the context of ever-growing competition for water and land, climate change, droughts and anthropic water scarcity, and less-participatory water governance. Such a context implies [...] Read more.
The main challenge faced by agriculture is to produce enough food for a continued increase in population, however in the context of ever-growing competition for water and land, climate change, droughts and anthropic water scarcity, and less-participatory water governance. Such a context implies innovative issues in agricultural water management and practices, at both the field and the system or the basin scales, mainly in irrigation to cope with water scarcity, environmental friendliness, and rural society welfare. Therefore, this special issue was set to present and discuss recent achievements in water, agriculture, and food nexus at different scales, thus to promote sustainable development of irrigated agriculture and to develop integrated approaches to water and food. Papers cover various domains including: (a) evapotranspiration and crop water use; (b) improving water management in irrigated agriculture, particularly irrigation scheduling; (c) adaptation of agricultural systems to enhance water use and water productivity to face water scarcity and climate change; (d) improving irrigation systems design and management adopting multi-criteria and risk approaches; (e) ensuring sustainable management for anthropic ecosystems favoring safe and high-quality food production, as well as the conservation of natural ecosystems; (f) assessing the impact of water scarcity and, mainly, droughts; (g) conservation of water quality resources, namely by preventing contamination with nitrates; (h) use of modern mapping technologies and remote sensing information; and (i) fostering a participative and inclusive governance of water for food security and population welfare. Full article

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Perturbation Indicators for On-Demand Pressurized Irrigation Systems
Water 2019, 11(3), 558; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030558 - 18 Mar 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The perturbation in hydraulic networks for irrigation systems is often created when sudden changes in flow rates occur in the pipes. This is essentially due to the manipulation of hydrants and depends mainly on the gate closure time. Such a perturbation may lead [...] Read more.
The perturbation in hydraulic networks for irrigation systems is often created when sudden changes in flow rates occur in the pipes. This is essentially due to the manipulation of hydrants and depends mainly on the gate closure time. Such a perturbation may lead to a significant pressure variation that may cause a pipe breakage. In a recent study, computer code simulating unsteady flow in pressurized irrigation systems—generated by the farmers’ behavior—was developed and the obtained results led to the introduction of an indicator called the relative pressure variation (RPV) to evaluate the pressure variation occurring into the system, with respect to the steady-state pressure. In the present study, two indicators have been set up: The hydrant risk indicator (HRI), defined as the ratio between the participation of the hydrant in the riskiest configurations and its total number of participations; and the relative pressure exceedance (RPE), which provides the variation of the unsteady state pressure with respect to the nominal pressure. The two indicators could help managers better understand the network behavior with respect to the perturbation by defining the riskiest hydrants and the potentially affected pipes. The present study was applied to an on-demand pressurized irrigation system in Southern Italy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A New Water Governance Model Aimed at Supply–Demand Management for Irrigation and Land Development in the Mendoza River Basin, Argentina
Water 2019, 11(3), 463; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030463 - 05 Mar 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
This study aimed at achieving an organizational solution for improving the governance of water and land use and, consequently, improving the supply–demand water balance. Related modeling applied to diverse scenarios focus on water and land use development in the Mendoza River basin. A [...] Read more.
This study aimed at achieving an organizational solution for improving the governance of water and land use and, consequently, improving the supply–demand water balance. Related modeling applied to diverse scenarios focus on water and land use development in the Mendoza River basin. A strategic analysis of water organization was performed using causal analysis, producing a Strategic Map (SM) and designing a Balanced Scorecard (BS). To assess the basin’s water resources supply and demand, the Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) model was applied to the Administrative Management Units existing in the basin, taking into consideration the water availability and the granted water rights. The application of the organizational and governance model to various scenarios referring to 2030 show that by reordering allocations and water use criteria, implementing a better farm irrigation water management, improving capacity building of existing human resources, and adopting more adequate hard- and software for dams and canal management, it will be possible to accommodate demand in 2030 better than at present despite climate change impacts on demand and supply. In addition, users’ participation will be enhanced. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Crop Coefficients and Transpiration of a Super Intensive Arbequina Olive Orchard using the Dual Kc Approach and the Kcb Computation with the Fraction of Ground Cover and Height
Water 2019, 11(2), 383; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11020383 - 22 Feb 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The SIMDualKc model was used to simulate crop water requirements for a super high density olive orchard in the region of Alentejo, Portugal. This model uses the dual crop coefficient approach to estimate and partitioning the actual crop evapotranspiration (ETc act) [...] Read more.
The SIMDualKc model was used to simulate crop water requirements for a super high density olive orchard in the region of Alentejo, Portugal. This model uses the dual crop coefficient approach to estimate and partitioning the actual crop evapotranspiration (ETc act) and therefore to perform the soil water balance. The model was calibrated with 2011 tree transpiration using trunk sap flow measurements and was validated using similar data from 2012 and tested with 2013 data. Low root mean square errors (RMSE < 0.53 mm·d−1) and acceptable modelling efficiency indicators (EF > 0.25) were obtained. Further validation was performed comparing modelled ETc act with eddy covariance measurements. These indicators support the appropriateness of using SIMDualKc to guide irrigation management. The basal crop coefficient (Kcb) curves obtained with SIMDualKc for those 3 years were compared with the Kcb values computed with the Allen and Pereira approach (A&P approach) where Kcb is estimated from the fraction of ground cover and plant height considering an adjustment factor for crop stomatal control (Fr). Fr values were obtained through a trial and error procedure through comparing the Kcb estimated with this approach and with SIMDualKc. The Kcb curves obtained by both methods resulted highly correlated, which indicates that the A&P approach may be used in the irrigation management practice to estimate crop water requirements. Results of performing the soil water balance with SIMDualKc have shown that soil evaporation is a large fraction of ETc act, varying between 41% and 45% for the 3 years under study. Irrigation, applied with a drip system, represented 39 to 56% of ETc act, which shows the great importance of irrigation to achieve the water requirements of super intensive olive orchards. Nevertheless, the analysis has shown that the irrigation management adopted at the orchard produces a water deficit larger than desirable, with a ratio of ETc act to non-stressed crop evapotranspiration (ETc) varying from 70% to 94% during the mid-season, when that ratio for a eustress irrigation management could be around 90%. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A New Method to Estimate Reference Crop Evapotranspiration from Geostationary Satellite Imagery: Practical Considerations
Water 2019, 11(2), 382; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11020382 - 22 Feb 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Reference crop evapotranspiration (ETo) plays a role in irrigation advisory being of crucial importance for water managers dealing with scarce water resources. Following the ETo definition, it can be shown that total solar radiation is the main driver, allowing ETo estimates from satellite [...] Read more.
Reference crop evapotranspiration (ETo) plays a role in irrigation advisory being of crucial importance for water managers dealing with scarce water resources. Following the ETo definition, it can be shown that total solar radiation is the main driver, allowing ETo estimates from satellite observations. As such, the EUMETSAT LSA-SAF operationally provides ETo primarily derived from the European geostationary satellite MSG. ETo estimations following the original FAO report require several meteorological observations gathered over actual well-watered grass. Here we will consider the impact of two effects on ETo using the LSA-SAF and FAO methodologies: (i) local advection, related to the impact of advection of surrounding warm dry air onto the reference non-water stressed surface; and (ii) the so-called surface aridity error, which occurs when calculating ETo according to FAO, but with input data not collected over well-watered grass. The LSA-SAF ETo is not sensitive to any of these effects. However, it is shown that local advection may increase evapotranspiration over a limited field by up to 30%, while ignoring aridity effects leads to a great overestimation. The practical application of satellite estimates of ETo provided by the LSA-SAF are discussed here, and, furthermore, water managers are encouraged to consider its advantages and ways for improvement. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of a Smartphone Application for Real-Time Irrigation Scheduling in Mediterranean Environments
Water 2019, 11(2), 252; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11020252 - 01 Feb 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The suitability of cloud-based irrigation technologies remains questionable due to limited information on their evaluation in the field. This study focussed on the on-field assessment of a smartphone irrigation scheduling tool—Bluleaf®—with respect to traditional water application practices. Bluleaf® uses weather, [...] Read more.
The suitability of cloud-based irrigation technologies remains questionable due to limited information on their evaluation in the field. This study focussed on the on-field assessment of a smartphone irrigation scheduling tool—Bluleaf®—with respect to traditional water application practices. Bluleaf® uses weather, crop, soil, and irrigation system data to support a farmer’s decision on the timing and amounts of irrigation. The smartphone application was tested in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, on durum wheat, a strategic Mediterranean crop, during the 2017 and 2018 growing seasons. The simulation results on soil water balance were in “acceptable to very good” agreement with the measured soil moisture values, with a root mean square error (RMSE) between 15.1 and 26.6 mm and a modelling efficiency (NSE) that ranged from 0.77 to 0.92. The appropriateness of the adopted smartphone irrigation scheduling was confirmed also by leaf water potential measurements and the Crop Water Stress Index (CWSI). A water saving of more than 1000 m3/ha (25.7%) was observed with Bluleaf® with respect to traditional irrigation scheduling. Therefore, new technologies could bring about substantial benefits to farmers and support water saving efforts in the Mediterranean region. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Five-Year Experimental Study on Effectiveness and Sustainability of a Dry Drainage System for Controlling Soil Salinity
Water 2019, 11(1), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11010111 - 10 Jan 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The dry drainage system (DDS) is an alternative technique for controlling salinization. To quantify its role in soil salinity control, a five-year field observation from 2007 to 2011 was completed in a 2900 ha experimental plot in Yonglian Experimental Station, Hetao Irrigation District, [...] Read more.
The dry drainage system (DDS) is an alternative technique for controlling salinization. To quantify its role in soil salinity control, a five-year field observation from 2007 to 2011 was completed in a 2900 ha experimental plot in Yonglian Experimental Station, Hetao Irrigation District, China. Results showed that the groundwater table depth in the fallow areas quickly responded to the lateral recharge from the surrounding croplands during irrigation events. The groundwater electrical conductivity (GEC) of fallow areas increased from 5 mS·cm−1 to 15 mS·cm−1, whereas the GEC below croplands produced small fluctuations. The analysis of water and salt balance showed that the excess water that moved to fallow was roughly four times that moved by an artificial drainage system and with 7.7 times the corresponding salt. The fallow areas act as a drainage repository to receive excess water and salt from surrounding irrigated croplands. Slight salt accumulation occurred in irrigated croplands and salts accumulated, with an accelerating trend over the final two years. The evaporation capability weakened, partly due to the salt crust in the topsoil, and the decrease in soil permeability in the soil column, which was almost impermeable to water. Using halophytes may be an effective method to remove salts that have accumulated in fallow areas, having great economic and ecological value. A DDS may be effective and sustainable in situations where the fallow areas can sustain an upward capillary flux from planted halophytes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evapotranspiration of the Brazilian Pampa Biome: Seasonality and Influential Factors
Water 2018, 10(12), 1864; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10121864 - 15 Dec 2018
Cited by 3 | Correction
Abstract
Experimentally characterizing evapotranspiration (ET) in different biomes around the world is an issue of interest for different areas of science. ET in natural areas of the Brazilian Pampa biome has still not been assessed. In this study, the actual ET (ETact) [...] Read more.
Experimentally characterizing evapotranspiration (ET) in different biomes around the world is an issue of interest for different areas of science. ET in natural areas of the Brazilian Pampa biome has still not been assessed. In this study, the actual ET (ETact) obtained from eddy covariance measurements over two sites of the Pampa biome was analyzed. The objective was to evaluate the energy partition and seasonal variability of the actual ET of the Pampa biome. Results showed that the latent heat flux was the dominant component in available energy in both the autumn–winter (AW) and spring–summer (SS) periods. Evapotranspiration of the Pampa biome showed strong seasonality, with highest ET rates in the SS period. During the study period, approximately 65% of the net radiation was used for the evapotranspiration process in the Pampa biome. The annual mean ET rate was 2.45 mm d−1. ET did not show to vary significantly between sites, with daily values very similar in both sites. The water availability in the Pampa biome was not a limiting factor for ET, which resulted in a small difference between the reference ET and the actual ET. These results are helpful in achieving a better understanding of the temporal pattern of ET in relation to the landscape of the Pampa biome and its meteorological, soil, and vegetation characteristics. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Organic Amendments Influence Soil Water Depletion, Root Distribution, and Water Productivity of Summer Maize in the Guanzhong Plain of Northwest China
Water 2018, 10(11), 1640; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10111640 - 13 Nov 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Organic amendments improve general soil conditions and stabilize crop production, but their effects on the soil hydrothermal regime, root distribution, and their contributions to water productivity (WP) of maize have not been fully studied. A two-year field experiment was conducted to investigate the [...] Read more.
Organic amendments improve general soil conditions and stabilize crop production, but their effects on the soil hydrothermal regime, root distribution, and their contributions to water productivity (WP) of maize have not been fully studied. A two-year field experiment was conducted to investigate the impacts of organic amendments on soil temperature, water storage depletion (SWSD), root distribution, grain yield, and the WP of summer maize (Zea mays L.) in the Guanzhong Plain of Northwest China. The control treatment (CO) applied mineral fertilizer without amendments, and the three amended treatments applied mineral fertilizer with 20 Mg ha−1 of wheat straw (MWS), farmyard manure (MFM), and bioorganic fertilizer (MBF), respectively. Organic amendments decreased SWSD compared to CO, and the lowest value was obtained in MBF, followed by MWS and MFM. Meanwhile, the lowest mean topsoil (0–10 cm) temperature was registered in MWS. Compared to CO, organic amendments generally improved the root length density (RLD) and root weight density (RWD) of maize. MBF showed the highest RLD across the whole soil profile, while MWS yielded the greatest RWD to 20 cm soil depth. Consequently, organic amendments increased grain yield by 9.9–40.3% and WP by 8.6–47.1% compared to CO, and the best performance was attained in MWS and MBF. We suggest that MWS and MBF can benefit the maize agriculture in semi-arid regions for higher yield, and WP through regulating soil hydrothermal conditions and improving root growth. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing the Impact of LAI Data Assimilation on Simulations of the Soil Water Balance and Maize Development Using MOHID-Land
Water 2018, 10(10), 1367; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10101367 - 30 Sep 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Hydrological modeling at the catchment scale requires the upscaling of many input parameters for better characterizing landscape heterogeneity, including soil, land use and climate variability. In this sense, remote sensing is often considered as a practical solution. This study aimed to access the [...] Read more.
Hydrological modeling at the catchment scale requires the upscaling of many input parameters for better characterizing landscape heterogeneity, including soil, land use and climate variability. In this sense, remote sensing is often considered as a practical solution. This study aimed to access the impact of assimilation of leaf area index (LAI) data derived from Landsat 8 imagery on MOHID-Land’s simulations of the soil water balance and maize state variables (LAI, canopy height, aboveground dry biomass and yield). Data assimilation impacts on final model results were first assessed by comparing distinct modeling approaches to measured data. Then, the uncertainty related to assimilated LAI values was quantified on final model results using a Monte Carlo method. While LAI assimilation improved MOHID-Land’s estimates of the soil water balance and simulations of crop state variables during early stages, it was never sufficient to overcome the absence of a local calibrated crop dataset. Final model estimates further showed great uncertainty for LAI assimilated values during earlier crop stages, decreasing then with season reaching its end. Thus, while model simulations can be improved using LAI data assimilation, additional data sources should be considered for complementing crop parameterization. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Irrigation Governance in Developing Countries: Current Problems and Solutions
Water 2018, 10(9), 1118; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10091118 - 23 Aug 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
The evolution of water governance and societal perception in large, public irrigation systems in developing countries has triggered successive waves of reforms since the 1980s. Among them are Participatory Irrigation Management, Irrigation Management Transfer, Public-Private Partnerships or Market Instruments. Reforms have generalized the [...] Read more.
The evolution of water governance and societal perception in large, public irrigation systems in developing countries has triggered successive waves of reforms since the 1980s. Among them are Participatory Irrigation Management, Irrigation Management Transfer, Public-Private Partnerships or Market Instruments. Reforms have generalized the implementation of Water Users Associations (WUAs) in continuous interaction with a public Irrigation Agency. This paper set out to review recurrent problems and reported solutions in the governance of irrigated areas in developing countries and to relate solutions to problems in a case study context. The combination of literature review and the experience of the authors permitted identification and characterization of eight problems and eight solutions. A semi-quantitative approach was designed to relate solutions to problems in case study WUAs. The approach is based on the definition of a generic problem-solution matrix and a WUA-specific problem vector. The solution vector indicates the adequacy of each solution to a case study WUA. It can be obtained by multiplying the problem vector with the problem-solution matrix. Application of this approach to seven case study WUAs demonstrated its potential. Local fine-tuning of the coefficients defining the problem-solution matrix seems required to draw conclusions effectively guiding decision-making. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Estimating Evapotranspiration of Processing Tomato under Plastic Mulch Using the SIMDualKc Model
Water 2018, 10(8), 1088; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10081088 - 16 Aug 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Accurate estimation of crop evapotranspiration (ET) is critical for agricultural water resource management and proper irrigation scheduling. The 2-year field experimental data of processing tomato under plastic-mulched drip and basin irrigation in the Hetao Irrigation District (Hetao), located in the upper reaches of [...] Read more.
Accurate estimation of crop evapotranspiration (ET) is critical for agricultural water resource management and proper irrigation scheduling. The 2-year field experimental data of processing tomato under plastic-mulched drip and basin irrigation in the Hetao Irrigation District (Hetao), located in the upper reaches of the Yellow river, were used to calibrate and validate the SIMDualKc model. The model adopted the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) dual Kc method for partitioning ET into plant transpiration and soil evaporation. The results showed a good agreement between soil water observations and simulations throughout the growing seasons with a low error estimate and high model efficiency. The calibrated basal potential crop coefficients for the initial stage, mid-season stage, and late stage were 0.30, 0.92, and 0.60, respectively. ET during the two growing seasons was in the range of 284–331 mm for basin irrigation and 266–310 mm for drip irrigation. The average soil evaporation accounted for 5% of ET in 2015 and 14% of ET in 2016 for drip irrigation treatments, while it accounted for 4% and 13% of ET for basin irrigation treatments in the two experimental years, indicating that transpiration was the dominant component of ET of processing tomato under plastic mulch in Hetao. The highest water productivity was obtained from the drip irrigation treatment. The SIMDualKc model is an appropriate tool to estimate crop ET and may be further used to improve local irrigation scheduling for processing tomato in the upper reaches of the Yellow river. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Application of a Modified Version of the SWAT Model at the Daily Temporal Scale and the Hydrological Response unit Spatial Scale: A Case Study Covering an Irrigation District in the Hei River Basin
Water 2018, 10(8), 1064; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10081064 - 10 Aug 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
As a well-built, distributed hydrological model, the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) has rarely been evaluated at small spatial and short temporal scales. This study evaluated crop growth (specifically, the leaf area index and shoot dry matter) and daily evapotranspiration at the [...] Read more.
As a well-built, distributed hydrological model, the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) has rarely been evaluated at small spatial and short temporal scales. This study evaluated crop growth (specifically, the leaf area index and shoot dry matter) and daily evapotranspiration at the hydrological response unit (HRU) scale, and SWAT2009 was modified to accurately simulate crop growth processes and major hydrological processes. The parameters of the modified SWAT2009 model were calibrated using data on maize for seed from 5 HRUs and validated using data from 7 HRUs. The results show that daily evapotranspiration, shoot dry matter and leaf area index estimates from the modified SWAT2009 model were satisfactory at the HRU level, and the RMSE values associated with daily evapotranspiration, shoot dry matter, and leaf area index were reduced by 17.0%, 1.6%, and 71.2%, compared with SWAT2009. Thus, the influences of various optimal management practices on the hydrology of agricultural watersheds can be effectively assessed using the modified model. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Water–Energy–Food Nexus: A Fuzzy-Cognitive Mapping Approach to Support Nexus-Compliant Policies in Andalusia (Spain)
Water 2018, 10(5), 664; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10050664 - 19 May 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Water, energy and food are essential resources for economic development and social well-being. Framing integrated policies that improve their efficient use requires understanding the interdependencies in the water–energy–food (WEF) nexus. Stakeholder involvement in this process is crucial to represent multiple perspectives, ensure political [...] Read more.
Water, energy and food are essential resources for economic development and social well-being. Framing integrated policies that improve their efficient use requires understanding the interdependencies in the water–energy–food (WEF) nexus. Stakeholder involvement in this process is crucial to represent multiple perspectives, ensure political legitimacy and promote dialogue. In this research, we develop and apply a participatory modelling approach to identify the main interlinkages within the WEF nexus in Andalusia, as a starting point to developing a system dynamic model at a later stage. The application of fuzzy cognitive mapping enabled us to gain knowledge on the WEF nexus according to opinions from 14 decision-makers, as well as contributing to raising awareness and building consensus among stakeholders. Results show that climate change and water availability are key drivers in the WEF nexus in Andalusia. Other variables with significant interlinkages within the WEF nexus are food production, irrigated agriculture, energy cost, socio-economic factors, irrigation water use, environmental conservation, and farm performance indicators. The scenario analysis reveals the interdependencies among nexus sectors and the existence of unanticipated effects when changing variables in the system, which need to be considered to design integrated policies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Alternative Irrigation Strategies on Yield and Quality of Fiesta Raisin Grapes Grown in California
Water 2018, 10(5), 583; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10050583 - 30 Apr 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Traditionally, grapes are fully irrigated, but alternative irrigation strategies to reduce applied irrigation water may be necessary in the future as occurrences of drought increase. This study was conducted in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV) of California from 2012 to 2014. Three irrigation [...] Read more.
Traditionally, grapes are fully irrigated, but alternative irrigation strategies to reduce applied irrigation water may be necessary in the future as occurrences of drought increase. This study was conducted in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV) of California from 2012 to 2014. Three irrigation treatments were used to study the effects on the yield and quality of Fiesta grapes. The treatments included: grower irrigation (GI) weekly irrigation lasting for approximately 65 h; sustained deficit (SD) equal to 80% of the GI treatment; and regulated deficit (RD) equal to 50% of the GI until fruit set when it was increased to 80% of the GI through harvest and reduced to 50% of the GI after harvest. Average water use across treatments was ≈489 mm. Average yield across all treatments was 7.9 t ha−1, 9.1 t ha−1 and 11.8 t ha−1 in 2012, 2013, and 2014, respectively. Yield was sustained in SD and RD, with up to a 20% reduction in applied water use compared to GI. There were no differences in raisin quality and grade among any of the treatments in any year. The percentage of substandard grapes decreased from an average of 12.6% in 2012 to 3.6% in 2013 and 2014. Growers may use a sustained deficit approach during periods of limited water availability to minimize the effect on yield. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Straw Amendment on Soil Physicochemical Properties and Crop Yield on a Consecutive Mollisol Slope in Northeastern China
Water 2018, 10(5), 559; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10050559 - 26 Apr 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Straw amendment (SA) can be used to increase soil organic matter and decrease dioxide carbon emissions. However, the impact of SA on the crop yield is still subject to debate in different areas. In this study, soil temperature (ST), soil moisture (SM), soil [...] Read more.
Straw amendment (SA) can be used to increase soil organic matter and decrease dioxide carbon emissions. However, the impact of SA on the crop yield is still subject to debate in different areas. In this study, soil temperature (ST), soil moisture (SM), soil bulk density, soil-available-nitrogen (AN), soil-available-phosphorus (AP), crop growth and yield were measured in SA and NSA (no straw amendment) at slope positions of a 130-m-long consecutive Mollisol slope during the maize (Zea mays) growth stages in the North Temperate Zone of China. Compared with NSA, the influence of SA on ST and SM was not consistent, while AN typically increased on the top slope. However, SA conventionally increased AP, increased daily ST and monthly ST (2.4–7.9%), and increased daily SM and monthly SM (2.1–12.5%) on the back slope. SA increased crop yield by 1–9.8% and 55.6–105.1% on the top and back slopes, respectively. At the bottom, SA conventionally decreased ST (0.20–1.48 °C in July and August), SM (3.5–29.6% from May to August), AN and AP, and decreased crop yield (4.1–30.6%). In conclusion, SA changed the equilibrium of ST and SM, influenced the dynamics of AN and AP on the consecutive slopes, and increased yield on both the top and back slopes but decreased yield at the bottom. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evapotranspiration Partition and Crop Coefficients of Tifton 85 Bermudagrass as Affected by the Frequency of Cuttings. Application of the FAO56 Dual Kc Model
Water 2018, 10(5), 558; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10050558 - 26 Apr 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
This study aims to model the impacts of the frequency of cuttings of Tifton 85 bermudagrass on the dynamics of evapotranspiration (ETc) and to derive crop coefficients appropriate for grass water management. Two seasons of experimentation were used with four different [...] Read more.
This study aims to model the impacts of the frequency of cuttings of Tifton 85 bermudagrass on the dynamics of evapotranspiration (ETc) and to derive crop coefficients appropriate for grass water management. Two seasons of experimentation were used with four different cutting treatments which provided field data for calibration and validation of the soil water balance model SIMDualKc for all treatments. Cuttings were performed after the cumulative growth degree days (CGDD) attained 124 °C, 248 °C and 372 °C, thus from short to very long intervals between cuttings. SIMDualKc adopts the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) dual Kc approach for partitioning ET into crop transpiration and soil evaporation, thus providing for an assessment of their dynamics. All treatments were irrigated to avoid water stress. Grass ETc was modelled adopting a Kcb curve to describe the ET variation for each cutting cycle, that is, using the FAO Kc curve that consists of a series of Kcb curves relative to each cutting cycle. Each individual Kcb curve consisted of three segments constructed when knowing the Kcb values at the initial, at the end of rapid growth, and at cutting, respectively Kcb ini, Kcb gro and Kcb cut. These Kcb values were first estimated using the equation relating Kcb to the density coefficient (Kd), which is computed from the fraction of ground cover (fc) and canopy height (h) at the same dates. The goodness of fit indicators relative to the calibration and validation of the SIMDualKc model were rather good, with the normalized root mean square error (RMSE) ranging from 4.0% to 6.7% of the mean available soil water. As an example, the standard Kcb values obtained after model calibration relative to the cuttings treatment with CGDD of 248 °C are: Kcb ini = 0.86, Kcb gro = 0.91 and Kcb cut = 0.96. Kcb values were smaller when the frequency of cuts was larger because h and fc were smaller, and were larger for reduced cuttings frequency since h and fc were then larger. Because the soil was wet most of the time, the soil evaporation Ke varied little but its value was small due to the combined effects of the fraction of crop cover and plant litter covering the soil. The values of Kc = Kcb+Ke also varied little due to the influence of Ke and the Kc curve obtained a form different from the Kcb curves, and a single Kc value was adopted for each cutting frequency, e.g., Kc = 0.99 for the treatment with CGDD of 248 °C. Results of the soil water balance have shown that, during the experimental periods, likely due to the effects of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), runoff and deep percolation exceeded ETc. Moreover, the soil evaporation ratio was small: 14% in case of frequent cuttings and less for more spaced cuttings, thus with a transpiration ratio close to 90%, which indicates a very high beneficial consumptive water use, mainly when cuttings are not very frequent. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Implementation of a Two-Source Model for Estimating the Spatial Variability of Olive Evapotranspiration Using Satellite Images and Ground-Based Climate Data
Water 2018, 10(3), 339; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10030339 - 19 Mar 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
A study was carried out to evaluate the potential use of the two-source Shuttleworth and Wallace (SW) model to compute the intra-orchard spatial variability of actual evapotranspiration (ET) of olive trees using satellite images and ground-based climate data. The study was conducted in [...] Read more.
A study was carried out to evaluate the potential use of the two-source Shuttleworth and Wallace (SW) model to compute the intra-orchard spatial variability of actual evapotranspiration (ET) of olive trees using satellite images and ground-based climate data. The study was conducted in a drip-irrigated olive orchard using satellite images (Landsat 7 ETM+), which were acquired on clear sky days during the main phenological stages (2009/10 growing season). The performance of the SW model was evaluated using instantaneous latent heat flux (LE) measurements that were obtained from an eddy correlation system. At the time of satellite overpass, the estimated values of net radiation ( Rn i ) and soil heat flux ( G i ) were compared with ground measurements from a four-way net radiometer and soil heat flux plates, respectively. The results indicated that the SW model subestimated instantaneous LE (W m−2) and daily ET (mm d−1), with errors of 12% and 10% of observed values, respectively. The root mean square error (RMSE) and mean absolute error (MAE) values for instantaneous LE were 26 and 20 W m−2, while those for daily values of ET were 0.31 and 0.28 mm d−1, respectively. Finally, the submodels computed Rn i and G i with errors of between 4.0% and 8.0% of measured values and with RMSE and MAE between 25 and 39 W m−2. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Basin Irrigation Design with Multi-Criteria Analysis Focusing on Water Saving and Economic Returns: Application to Wheat in Hetao, Yellow River Basin
Water 2018, 10(1), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10010067 - 13 Jan 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
The sustainability of the Hetao Irrigation System, located in the water scarce upper Yellow River basin, is a priority considering the need for water saving, increased water productivity, and higher farmers’ incomes. The upgrading of basin irrigation, the main irrigation method, is essential [...] Read more.
The sustainability of the Hetao Irrigation System, located in the water scarce upper Yellow River basin, is a priority considering the need for water saving, increased water productivity, and higher farmers’ incomes. The upgrading of basin irrigation, the main irrigation method, is essential and includes the adoption of precise land levelling, cut-off management, improved water distribution uniformity, and adequate irrigation scheduling. With this objective, the current study focuses on upgrading wheat basin irrigation through improved design using a decision support system (DSS) model, which considers land parcels characteristics, crop irrigation scheduling, soil infiltration, hydraulic simulation, and environmental and economic impacts. Its use includes outlining water saving scenarios and ranking alternative designs through multi-criteria analysis considering the priorities of stakeholders. The best alternatives concern flat level basins with a 100 and 200 m length and inflow rates between 2 and 4 L s−1 m−1. The total irrigation cost of designed projects, including the cost of the autumn irrigation, varies between 2400 and 3300 Yuan ha−1; the major cost component is land levelling, corresponding to 33–46% of total irrigation costs. The economic land productivity is about 18,000 Yuan ha−1. The DSS modelling defined guidelines to be applied by an extension service aimed at implementing better performing irrigation practices, and encouraged a good interaction between farmers and the Water Users Association, thus making easier the implementation of appropriate irrigation management programs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Monthly Prediction of Drought Classes Using Log-Linear Models under the Influence of NAO for Early-Warning of Drought and Water Management
Water 2018, 10(1), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10010065 - 12 Jan 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Drought class transitions over a sector of Eastern Europe were modeled using log-linear models. These drought class transitions were computed from time series of two widely used multiscale drought indices, the Standardized Preipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) and the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI), with [...] Read more.
Drought class transitions over a sector of Eastern Europe were modeled using log-linear models. These drought class transitions were computed from time series of two widely used multiscale drought indices, the Standardized Preipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) and the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI), with temporal scales of 6 and 12 months for 15 points selected from a grid over the Prut basin in Romania over a period of 112 years (1902–2014). The modeling also took into account the impact of North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), exploring the potential influence of this large-scale atmospheric driver on the climate of the Prut region. To assess the probability of transition among different drought classes we computed their odds and the corresponding confidence intervals. To evaluate the predictive capabilities of the modeling, skill scores were computed and used for comparison against benchmark models, namely using persistence forecasts or modeling without the influence of the NAO index. The main results indicate that the log-linear modeling performs consistently better than the persistence forecast, and the highest improvements obtained in the skill scores with the introduction of the NAO predictor in the modeling are obtained when modeling the extended winter months of the SPEI6 and SPI12. The improvements are however not impressive, ranging between 4.7 and 6.8 for the SPEI6 and between 4.1 and 10.1 for the SPI12, in terms of the Heidke skill score. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Nitrogen in Water-Portugal and Denmark: Two Contrasting Realities
Water 2019, 11(6), 1114; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11061114 - 28 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Agricultural activities are responsible for most of the nitrogen (N) inputs that degrade water quality. To elucidate the drivers leading to N pressures on water, we examined the resulting state of surface waters in terms of N concentrations, the impact of this on [...] Read more.
Agricultural activities are responsible for most of the nitrogen (N) inputs that degrade water quality. To elucidate the drivers leading to N pressures on water, we examined the resulting state of surface waters in terms of N concentrations, the impact of this on water quality status and policy responses to these constraints across different climatic and management conditions. Portugal and Denmark were chosen as contrasting case studies for the Driver-Pressure-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) analysis. Our results showed reductions of 39% and 25% in the use of mineral fertilizer in Portugal and Denmark, respectively, between 2000 and 2010. The N surplus in Portugal varied between 15 and 30 kg N ha−1 between 1995 and 2015. In Denmark, in 2015, this amount was 70 kg N ha−1, representing a 53% decrease from the 1990 value. The average amount of total N discharged to surface waters was 7 kg ha−1 for mainland Portugal in 2015 and 14.6 kg ha−1 for Denmark in 2014. These reductions in the N surplus were attributed to historical policies aimed at N pressure abatement. In Denmark, N losses are expected to decline further through the continuation or improvement of existing national action plans. In Portugal, they are expected to decline further due to the expansion of Nitrate Vulnerable Zones and the introduction of targeted policies aimed at improving N use efficiency and reducing losses to water. Full article
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Open AccessReview
A Simplified Nitrogen Assessment in Tagus River Basin: A Management Focused Review
Water 2018, 10(4), 406; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10040406 - 30 Mar 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
Interactions among nitrogen (N) management and water resources quality are complex and enhanced in transboundary river basins. This is the case of Tagus River, which is an important river flowing from Spain to Portugal in the Iberian Peninsula. The aim was to provide [...] Read more.
Interactions among nitrogen (N) management and water resources quality are complex and enhanced in transboundary river basins. This is the case of Tagus River, which is an important river flowing from Spain to Portugal in the Iberian Peninsula. The aim was to provide a N assessment review along the Tagus River Basin regarding mostly agriculture, livestock, and urban activities. To estimate reactive nitrogen (Nr) load into surface waters, emission factor approaches were applied. Nr pressures are much higher in Spain than in Portugal (~13 times), which is mostly because of livestock intensification. Some policy and technical measures have been defined aiming at solving this problem. Main policy responses were the designation of Nitrate Vulnerable and Sensitive Zones, according to European Union (EU) directives. Nitrate Vulnerable Zone comprise approximately one third of both territories. On the contrary, Sensitive Zones are more extended in Spain, attaining 60% of the watershed, against only 30% in Portugal. Technical measures comprised advanced urban and industrial wastewater treatment that was designed to remove N compounds before discharge in the water bodies. Given this assessment, Tagus River Basin sustainability can only be guaranteed through load inputs reductions and effective transnational management processes of water flows. Full article
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Other

Open AccessCorrection
Correction: Gisele Cristina Rubert et al., Evapotranspiration of the Brazilian Pampa Biome: Seasonality and Influential Factors. Water 2018, 10, 1864
Water 2019, 11(9), 1890; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11091890 - 11 Sep 2019
Abstract
The authors wish to make the following corrections to this paper [...] Full article
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