Special Issue "Resilient Water Management in Agriculture"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Resources Management, Policy and Governance".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2016).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Tim Hess
Website SciProfiles
Guest Editor
School of Energy, Environment and Agrifood, Cranfield University, Bedford, MK43 0AL, UK
Interests: water footprint; irrigation; water risk; hydrology
Dr. Jerry Knox
Website
Guest Editor
School of Energy, Environment and Agrifood, Cranfield University, Bedford, MK43 0AL, UK
Interests: irrigation; water resources; crop modelling; climate change

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Water is critical for agriculture; for plant growth, livestock watering, cleaning, and sanitation. Demand for food is increasing whilst water resources are becoming increasingly stressed as a result of increased demand from other water uses, climate change, and the need to sustain environmental flows. As the largest user of freshwater resources globally, the food production system is increasingly exposed to risks associated with the availability, quality, and costs of water. Resilient water management for agriculture is, therefore, fundamental to food security. This Special Issue will consider how technology, management, sociology, and economics can help agriculture become more resilient to future water-related shocks.

Dr. Tim Hess
Dr. Jerry Knox
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • irrigation
  • water
  • food security
  • resilience

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Assessing the Viability of Sub-Surface Drip Irrigation for Resource-Efficient Alfalfa Production in Central and Southern California
Water 2017, 9(11), 837; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9110837 - 30 Oct 2017
Cited by 6
Abstract
In California, alfalfa is grown on a large area ranging between 325,000 and 410,000 hectares and ranks among the thirstiest crops. While the hay production industry is often scrutinized for the large usage of the state’s agricultural water, alfalfa is a crucial feed-supplier [...] Read more.
In California, alfalfa is grown on a large area ranging between 325,000 and 410,000 hectares and ranks among the thirstiest crops. While the hay production industry is often scrutinized for the large usage of the state’s agricultural water, alfalfa is a crucial feed-supplier for the livestock and dairy sectors, which rank among the most profitable commodity groups in the state. Sub-surface drip irrigation (SDI), although only practiced on approximately 2% of the alfalfa production area in California, is claimed to have the potential to significantly increase hay yield (HY) and water productivity (WP) compared with surface irrigation (SI). In 2014–2016 we interviewed a number of growers pioneering SDI for alfalfa production in Central and Southern California who reported that yield improvements in the order of 10–30% and water saving of about 20–30% are achievable in SDI-irrigated fields compared with SI, according to their records and perceptions collected over few years of experience. Results from our research on SDI at the University of California, Davis, revealed significantly smaller yield gain (~5%) and a slight increase of water use (~2–3%) that are similar to findings from earlier research studies. We found that most of the interviewed alfalfa producers are generally satisfied with their SDI systems, yet face some challenges that call for additional research and educational efforts. Key limitations of SDI include high investment costs, use of energy to pressurize water, the need for more advanced irrigation management skills, and better understanding of soil-water dynamics by farm personnel. SDI-irrigated fields also need accurate water monitoring and control, attentive prevention and repair of rodent damages, and careful salinity management in the root zone. In this paper we attempt to evaluate the viability of the SDI technology for alfalfa production on the basis of preliminary results of our research and extension activities, with focus on its water and energy footprints within the context of resource efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resilient Water Management in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Tank Cascade Systems as a Sustainable Measure of Watershed Management in South Asia
Water 2017, 9(3), 231; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9030231 - 22 Mar 2017
Cited by 10
Abstract
In the dry zone of Sri Lanka, human-made reservoirs have served for the collection, storage and distribution of rainfall and runoff and provide irrigation water for the cultivation of paddy for 2000 years. This paper introduces the layout and function of four traditional [...] Read more.
In the dry zone of Sri Lanka, human-made reservoirs have served for the collection, storage and distribution of rainfall and runoff and provide irrigation water for the cultivation of paddy for 2000 years. This paper introduces the layout and function of four traditional village tank cascade systems in the hinterland of Anuradhapura, located in the North Central Province in Sri Lanka. In contrast to large-scale tanks, these systems are managed and maintained by local villagers. Sedimentological data from two tanks provide information about processes leading to the formation of these deposits and their post-sedimentary, partly human-induced alterations. The presented data support the hypothesis, that the decentral managed tanks were not affected by severe erosion after the abandonment of the ancient capital Anuradhapura in the 11th century CE, a period that was characterized by socio-economic instability and increased climatic fluctuations. Presented results underline the significance of small-scale tank cascades systems to buffer the effects of climatic fluctuations and point to their potential as a cornerstone in coping with future climate change in the dry zone of Sri Lanka. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resilient Water Management in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Water Consumption of Agriculture and Natural Ecosystems along the Ili River in China and Kazakhstan
Water 2017, 9(3), 207; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9030207 - 10 Mar 2017
Cited by 21
Abstract
The Ili River is a transboundary river shared by China, upstream, and Kazakhstan, downstream. The Ili is the main water supplier to Lake Balkhash, the largest lake in Central Asia after desiccation of the Aral Sea. Agreements over water allocation have not been [...] Read more.
The Ili River is a transboundary river shared by China, upstream, and Kazakhstan, downstream. The Ili is the main water supplier to Lake Balkhash, the largest lake in Central Asia after desiccation of the Aral Sea. Agreements over water allocation have not been concluded between China and Kazakhstan. This paper investigated water consumption of agriculture and riparian ecosystems in the Ili river basin, to provide information for further debate on water allocation, through the Simplified Surface Energy Balance Index (S-SEBI) approach using Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite images. The overall water consumption in the Ili river basin was 14.3 km3/a in 2000, 17.2 km3/a in 2005, and 15 km3/a in 2014. In 2000, China and Kazakhstan consumed 38% and 62% of the water, respectively. By 2014, the relative share of China’s water consumption increased to 43%. In China, 80% of the water consumption is due to agriculture. High runoff during the past 10 years enabled increasing water consumption in China and sufficient water supply to agriculture and riparian ecosystems in Kazakhstan. When runoff of the Ili River decreases, as expected for most rivers in Central Asia, then irrigation efficiency has to be further increased in China, and irrigation systems in Kazakhstan have to be restored and modernized in order to reduce water consumption and protect Lake Balkhash and the riparian ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resilient Water Management in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Quantity- and Quality-Based Farm Water Productivity in Wine Production: Case Studies in Germany
Water 2017, 9(2), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9020088 - 01 Feb 2017
Cited by 4
Abstract
The German wine sector has encountered new challenges in water management recently. To manage water resources responsibly, it is necessary to understand the relationship between the input of water and the output of wine, in terms of quantity and quality. The objectives of [...] Read more.
The German wine sector has encountered new challenges in water management recently. To manage water resources responsibly, it is necessary to understand the relationship between the input of water and the output of wine, in terms of quantity and quality. The objectives of this study are to examine water use at the farm scale at three German wineries in Rhenish Hesse, and to develop and apply, for the first time, a quality-based indicator. Water use is analyzed in terms of wine production and wine-making over three years. After the spatial and temporal boundaries of the wineries and the water flows are defined, the farm water productivity indicator is calculated to assess water use at the winery scale. Farm water productivity is calculated using the AgroHyd Farmmodel modeling software. Average productivity on a quantity basis is 3.91 L wine per m3 of water. Productivity on a quality basis is 329.24 Oechsle per m3 of water. Water input from transpiration for wine production accounts for 99.4%–99.7% of total water input in the wineries, and, because irrigation is not used, precipitation is the sole source of transpired water. Future studies should use both quality-based and mass-based indicators of productivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resilient Water Management in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Impacts of Ridge-Furrow Planting on Salt Stress and Cotton Yield under Drip Irrigation
Water 2017, 9(1), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9010049 - 13 Jan 2017
Cited by 5
Abstract
Flat (F), mini-ditch (MD), and ridge-furrow (RF) are three conventional cotton planting patterns that are usually adopted around the world, yet soil and crop responses to these three patterns are poorly studied, as is their suitability for increasing yield for coastal areas in [...] Read more.
Flat (F), mini-ditch (MD), and ridge-furrow (RF) are three conventional cotton planting patterns that are usually adopted around the world, yet soil and crop responses to these three patterns are poorly studied, as is their suitability for increasing yield for coastal areas in Eastern China. The effects of three planting methods on water and salt dynamics as well as on growth and lint yield of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) were investigated in a saline field in Bohai Rim, China, to select the best planting pattern for cultivating coastal saline fields of Eastern China. Soil moisture in the root zone with RF was 11.9% and 12.1% higher than with F and MD, whereas the electrical conductivity of a saturated soil extract (ECe) in the root zone with RF was 18.0% and 13.8% lower than with MD and F, respectively, during the growth period, which indicated that RF could efficiently collect rainfall and leach salt in the root zone. After drip irrigation, the infiltration and salt-leaching depth with RF were both deeper than that with F and MD. The stand establishment of MD was the highest (80.3%) due to the greenhouse effect from film mulching, and was 12.8% and 4.6% higher than that with F and RF, respectively. Growth indicators and lint yield demonstrated that RF was superior to F and MD because of the higher soil moisture and lower ECe. The lint yield was significantly higher in RF, suggesting that RF can be an optimal planting pattern for agricultural reclamation in similar saline-alkaline areas around the world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resilient Water Management in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Prospects for Improving Gravity-Fed Surface Irrigation Systems in Mediterranean European Contexts
Water 2017, 9(1), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9010020 - 01 Jan 2017
Cited by 17
Abstract
Traditionally, most irrigation practices in Southern Europe have been based on gravity-fed surface irrigation systems. Currently, these systems remain a relevant typology in the European Union (EU) member states of the Mediterranean areas, where it is often the only sustainable method for farmers [...] Read more.
Traditionally, most irrigation practices in Southern Europe have been based on gravity-fed surface irrigation systems. Currently, these systems remain a relevant typology in the European Union (EU) member states of the Mediterranean areas, where it is often the only sustainable method for farmers due to the small size of agricultural holdings, their reduced capacity and readiness to invest and the low ratio between yield profits and irrigation costs. In the last several years, in response to European and national directives, surface irrigation has garnered increasing attention at the political and bureaucratic levels due to frequent criticisms of its postulated low efficiency and high water wastage. However, these systems commonly provide a number of ecosystem services and nature-based solutions that increase the positive externalities in different rural socio-ecological contexts and often have the potential to extend these services and provide solutions that are compatible with economical sustainability. This study aims to discuss the prospects for new practices and for the rehabilitation and modernization of the gravity-fed surface irrigation systems in EU Mediterranean areas to enhance water efficiency, thus gaining both economic advantages and environmental benefits. The difficulties, stimuli for improvements and peculiarities of the irrigation water management of four rural environments located in Italy, Spain and Portugal were analyzed and compared to the current state of the gravity-fed surface irrigation systems with hypothetical future improvements achievable by innovative technologies and practices. In these different case studies, the current gravity-fed surface irrigation systems have an obsolete regulatory structure; water-use efficiency is not a driving criterion for the management of the conveyance and distribution canal network, and farmers are not yet adequately encouraged to adopt more efficient gravity-fed irrigation practices. A continuous knowledge exchange is thus necessary for the interaction of all irrigation water managers and farmers to improve their eco-efficiency and to preserve and promote their cultural heritage across the entire water supply and delivery chains. We argue that the best way forward will require precisely targeted rehabilitation measures of gravity-fed surface irrigation systems based on the integrated use of decision support services, gate automation, remote and feedback controls and real-time flow optimization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resilient Water Management in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Water Management on Rice Varieties, Yield, and Water Productivity under the System of Rice Intensification in Southern Taiwan
Water 2017, 9(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9010003 - 22 Dec 2016
Cited by 11
Abstract
The system of rice intensification (SRI) uses less water and enhances rice yield through synergy among several agronomic management practices. This claim was investigated to determine the effects of crop growth, yield and irrigation water use, using two thirds of the recommended SRI [...] Read more.
The system of rice intensification (SRI) uses less water and enhances rice yield through synergy among several agronomic management practices. This claim was investigated to determine the effects of crop growth, yield and irrigation water use, using two thirds of the recommended SRI practices and two rice varieties, namely Tainan11 (TN11) and Tidung30 (TD30). Irrigation regimes were (a) intermittent irrigation with three-day intervals (TD303 and TN113); (b) intermittent irrigation with seven-day intervals (TD307 and TN117) and (c) continuous flooding (TD30F and TN11F). Results showed that intermittent irrigation of three- and seven-day intervals produced water savings of 55% and 74% compared with continuous flooding. Total water productivity was greater with intermittent irrigation at seven-day intervals producing 0.35 kg·grain/m3 (TN117) and 0.46 kg·grain/m3 (TD307). Average daily headed panicle reduced by 166% and 196% for TN113 and TN117 compared with TN11F, with similar reduction recorded for TD303 (150%) and TD307 (156%) compared with TD30F. Grain yield of TD30 was comparable among irrigation regimes; however, it reduced by 30.29% in TN117 compared to TN11F. Plant height and leaf area were greater in plants exposed to intermittent irrigation of three-day intervals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resilient Water Management in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
A Rainfall Interception Model for Alfalfa Canopy under Simulated Sprinkler Irrigation
Water 2016, 8(12), 585; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8120585 - 15 Dec 2016
Cited by 7
Abstract
Estimating canopy interception of water by plants during rainfall or sprinkler irrigation is a critical step for evaluating water-use efficiency. Most existing experimental studies and mathematic models of canopy interception have paid little attention to the interception losses of water by herbaceous plants. [...] Read more.
Estimating canopy interception of water by plants during rainfall or sprinkler irrigation is a critical step for evaluating water-use efficiency. Most existing experimental studies and mathematic models of canopy interception have paid little attention to the interception losses of water by herbaceous plants. To better understand the canopy interception processes of herbaceous plants and to estimate the interception losses, a process-based dynamic interception model for alfalfa canopy was developed and validated by an experiment under conditions of simulated sprinkler irrigation. The parameters of the model included the maximum interception, the rate of interception of the alfalfa canopy, and the duration of sprinkler irrigation. The model demonstrated that the amount of interception increased rapidly with duration in the early stage of sprinkler irrigation, and then gradually leveled off until the maximum retention capacity of the canopy was reached. The maximum interception by the alfalfa canopy, ranging from 0.29 to 1.26 mm, increased nonlinearly with the increase of leaf area index (LAI) and sprinkling intensity. The rate of interception increased with the decrease of LAI and the increase of sprinkling intensities. Meanwhile, a nonlinear equation based on sprinkling intensity and plant height was proposed in order to more practically estimate the maximum interception by alfalfa canopy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resilient Water Management in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of FAO AquaCrop Model for Simulating Maize Growth and Productivity under Deficit Irrigation in a Tropical Environment
Water 2016, 8(12), 557; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8120557 - 29 Nov 2016
Cited by 30
Abstract
Crop simulation models have a pivotal role to play in evaluating irrigation management strategies for improving agricultural water use. The objective of this study was to test and validate the AquaCrop model for maize under deficit irrigation management. Field observations from three experiments [...] Read more.
Crop simulation models have a pivotal role to play in evaluating irrigation management strategies for improving agricultural water use. The objective of this study was to test and validate the AquaCrop model for maize under deficit irrigation management. Field observations from three experiments consisting of four treatments were used to evaluate model performance in simulating canopy cover (CC), biomass (B), yield (Y), crop evapotranspiration (ETc), and water use efficiency (WUE). Statistics for root mean square error, model efficiency (E), and index of agreement for B and CC suggest that the model prediction is good under non-stressed and moderate stress environments. Prediction of final B and Y under these conditions was acceptable, as indicated by the high coefficient of determination and deviations <10%. In severely stressed conditions, low E and deviations >11% for B and 9% for Y indicate a reduction in the model reliability. Simulated ETc and WUE deviation from observed values were within the range of 9.5% to 22.2% and 6.0% to 32.2%, respectively, suggesting that AquaCrop prediction of these variables is fair, becoming unsatisfactory as plant water stress intensifies. AquaCrop can be reliably used for evaluating the effectiveness of proposed irrigation management strategies for maize; however, the limitations should be kept in mind when interpreting the results in severely stressed conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resilient Water Management in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Development of a Component-Based Modeling Framework for Agricultural Water-Resource Management
Water 2016, 8(8), 351; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8080351 - 17 Aug 2016
Cited by 2
Abstract
Because hydrologic responses of an agricultural watershed are influenced by many natural and man-made factors including pond/reservoir, management practices, and/or irrigation/drainage, strategies of hydrological modeling for the watershed must be case-dependent and thus carefully designed to effectively reflect their roles as critical hydrologic [...] Read more.
Because hydrologic responses of an agricultural watershed are influenced by many natural and man-made factors including pond/reservoir, management practices, and/or irrigation/drainage, strategies of hydrological modeling for the watershed must be case-dependent and thus carefully designed to effectively reflect their roles as critical hydrologic components in simulation processes. In this study, we propose a component-based modeling framework that accommodates a flexible modeling approach to consider a variety of hydrologic processes and management practices, especially irrigation-reservoir operation and paddy-farming practices, in watershed-scale modeling. The objectives of this study are twofold: to develop a COmponent-based Modeling Framework for Agricultural water-Resources Management (COMFARM) using an object-oriented programming technique, and to evaluate its applicability as a modeling tool to predict the responses of an agricultural watershed characterized with diverse land uses in a case study. COMFARM facilitates quick and easy development of watershed-specific hydrologic models by providing multiple interchangeable simulation routines for each hydrologic component considered. COMFARM is developed with the JAVA programming language, using Eclipse software. The framework developed in this study is applied to simulating hydrologic processes of the Seon-Am irrigation-district watershed consisting primarily of reservoir-irrigated rice paddies in South Korea. The application study clearly demonstrates the applicability of the framework as a convenient method to build models for hydrologic simulation of an agricultural watershed. The newly developed modeling framework, COMFARM is expected to serve as a useful tool in watershed management planning by allowing quick development of case-oriented analysis tools and evaluation of management scenarios customized to a specific watershed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resilient Water Management in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Predicting Maize Transpiration, Water Use and Productivity for Developing Improved Supplemental Irrigation Schedules in Western Uruguay to Cope with Climate Variability
Water 2016, 8(7), 309; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8070309 - 22 Jul 2016
Cited by 13
Abstract
Various maize irrigation treatments including full and deficit irrigation were used to calibrate and validate the soil water balance and irrigation scheduling model SIMDualKc at Paysandú, western Uruguay. The model adopts the dual crop coefficient approach to partition actual evapotranspiration (ETc act [...] Read more.
Various maize irrigation treatments including full and deficit irrigation were used to calibrate and validate the soil water balance and irrigation scheduling model SIMDualKc at Paysandú, western Uruguay. The model adopts the dual crop coefficient approach to partition actual evapotranspiration (ETc act) into actual transpiration (Tc act) and soil evaporation (Es). Low errors of estimation were obtained for simulating soil water content (Root mean square errors (RMSE) ≤ 0.014 cm3·cm−3 with calibrated parameters, and RMSE ≤ 0.023 cm3·cm−3 with default parameters). The ratio Es/Tc act ranged from 26% to 33% and Es/ETc act varied from 20% to 25%, with higher values when the crop was stressed offering less soil coverage. Due to rainfall regime, runoff and deep percolation were quite large. The Stewarts phasic model was tested and used to predict maize yield from Tc act with acceptable errors, in the range of those reported in literature. Water productivity values were high, ranging 1.39 to 2.17 kg·m−3 and 1.75 to 2.55 kg·m−3 when considering total water use and crop ET, respectively. Using a 22-year climatic data series, rainfed maize was assessed with poor results for nearly 40% of the years. Differently, alternative supplemental irrigation schedules assessed for the dry and very dry years have shown good results, particularly for mild deficit irrigation. Overall, results show appropriateness for using SIMDualKc to support the irrigation practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resilient Water Management in Agriculture)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Achieving Resilience through Water Recycling in Peri-Urban Agriculture
Water 2017, 9(3), 223; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9030223 - 18 Mar 2017
Cited by 7
Abstract
Pressures on urban, peri-urban and rural water and agricultural systems are increasingly complex with multiple interacting stresses and impacts. As a way of addressing these issues there has been increasing consideration as to how to build and manage resilience in these complex social-ecological [...] Read more.
Pressures on urban, peri-urban and rural water and agricultural systems are increasingly complex with multiple interacting stresses and impacts. As a way of addressing these issues there has been increasing consideration as to how to build and manage resilience in these complex social-ecological systems. This paper presents a case study of the role of water recycling for agricultural use within the context of the peri-urban water cycle in Western Sydney, Australia. Building upon a description of the water cycle associated with water reclaimed from urban wastewater and stormwater harvesting; aspects which enhance resilience are identified and discussed. These include water resource security, avoidance of wastewater discharges to receiving waters, enhanced processes of landscape ecology, provision of ecosystem services, environmental risk management, local agricultural products and services, social values, livelihood opportunity, and the industrial ecology of recycled organics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resilient Water Management in Agriculture)
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