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Did water-saving irrigation protect water resources over the past 40 years? A global analysis based on water accounting framework

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Did water-saving irrigation protect water resources over the past 40 years? A global analysis based on water accounting framework. / Zhou, Xinyao; Zhang, Yongqiang; Sheng, Zhuping; Manevski, Kiril; Andersen, Mathias Neumann; Han, Shumin; Li, Huilong; Yang, Yonghui.

In: Agricultural Water Management, Vol. 249, 106793, 30.04.2021.

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Zhou, Xinyao ; Zhang, Yongqiang ; Sheng, Zhuping ; Manevski, Kiril ; Andersen, Mathias Neumann ; Han, Shumin ; Li, Huilong ; Yang, Yonghui. / Did water-saving irrigation protect water resources over the past 40 years? A global analysis based on water accounting framework. In: Agricultural Water Management. 2021 ; Vol. 249.

Bibtex

@article{428098497a884b61b2057c5b6dc7131f,
title = "Did water-saving irrigation protect water resources over the past 40 years? A global analysis based on water accounting framework",
abstract = "Water-saving technologies have long been seen as an effective method to reduce irrigation water use and alleviate regional water shortage. However, growing reports of more severe water shortage and increasing application of water-saving technologies across the world have necessitated reassessment of agricultural water-saving. This study develops a simple method based on satellite-based ET partitions to estimate water withdrawal, water consumption and return flow from the 1980s to 2010s, and quantifies water-savings across globe and four hot-spot irrigated areas at both field and regional scales based on water accounting framework. The results show that global irrigation water flows keep increasing from the 1980s to 2010s, with over 50% increase from the expansion in irrigated lands. While water-saving technologies are found mainly applied in originally old irrigated lands, traditional flooding irrigation is still dominant in newly-developed irrigated lands. Non-beneficial water consumption (soil evaporation) is effectively reduced by water-saving technologies, but return flow has increased at the same time. At field scale, water-saving technologies fail to save water because the accumulated increased return flow is more than the accumulated decreased non-beneficial water consumption. At regional scale, however, water is saved because the return flow percolated to fresh aquifers is seen as beneficial rather than loss. At the same time, the accumulated increase of beneficial water consumption (crop transpiration) exceeds regional water savings, which explains the paradox between wide application of water-saving technologies and more severe regional water shortage. This study provides key new evidence for the paradox of irrigation efficiency and helps reconsidering water-saving technologies and their impacts on regional water resources.",
keywords = "Paradox of irrigation efficiency, Water accounting framework, Water savings estimation, Satellite-based ET partitions",
author = "Xinyao Zhou and Yongqiang Zhang and Zhuping Sheng and Kiril Manevski and Andersen, {Mathias Neumann} and Shumin Han and Huilong Li and Yonghui Yang",
year = "2021",
month = apr,
day = "30",
doi = "10.1016/j.agwat.2021.106793",
language = "English",
volume = "249",
journal = "Agricultural Water Management",
issn = "0378-3774",
publisher = "Elsevier BV",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Did water-saving irrigation protect water resources over the past 40 years? A global analysis based on water accounting framework

AU - Zhou, Xinyao

AU - Zhang, Yongqiang

AU - Sheng, Zhuping

AU - Manevski, Kiril

AU - Andersen, Mathias Neumann

AU - Han, Shumin

AU - Li, Huilong

AU - Yang, Yonghui

PY - 2021/4/30

Y1 - 2021/4/30

N2 - Water-saving technologies have long been seen as an effective method to reduce irrigation water use and alleviate regional water shortage. However, growing reports of more severe water shortage and increasing application of water-saving technologies across the world have necessitated reassessment of agricultural water-saving. This study develops a simple method based on satellite-based ET partitions to estimate water withdrawal, water consumption and return flow from the 1980s to 2010s, and quantifies water-savings across globe and four hot-spot irrigated areas at both field and regional scales based on water accounting framework. The results show that global irrigation water flows keep increasing from the 1980s to 2010s, with over 50% increase from the expansion in irrigated lands. While water-saving technologies are found mainly applied in originally old irrigated lands, traditional flooding irrigation is still dominant in newly-developed irrigated lands. Non-beneficial water consumption (soil evaporation) is effectively reduced by water-saving technologies, but return flow has increased at the same time. At field scale, water-saving technologies fail to save water because the accumulated increased return flow is more than the accumulated decreased non-beneficial water consumption. At regional scale, however, water is saved because the return flow percolated to fresh aquifers is seen as beneficial rather than loss. At the same time, the accumulated increase of beneficial water consumption (crop transpiration) exceeds regional water savings, which explains the paradox between wide application of water-saving technologies and more severe regional water shortage. This study provides key new evidence for the paradox of irrigation efficiency and helps reconsidering water-saving technologies and their impacts on regional water resources.

AB - Water-saving technologies have long been seen as an effective method to reduce irrigation water use and alleviate regional water shortage. However, growing reports of more severe water shortage and increasing application of water-saving technologies across the world have necessitated reassessment of agricultural water-saving. This study develops a simple method based on satellite-based ET partitions to estimate water withdrawal, water consumption and return flow from the 1980s to 2010s, and quantifies water-savings across globe and four hot-spot irrigated areas at both field and regional scales based on water accounting framework. The results show that global irrigation water flows keep increasing from the 1980s to 2010s, with over 50% increase from the expansion in irrigated lands. While water-saving technologies are found mainly applied in originally old irrigated lands, traditional flooding irrigation is still dominant in newly-developed irrigated lands. Non-beneficial water consumption (soil evaporation) is effectively reduced by water-saving technologies, but return flow has increased at the same time. At field scale, water-saving technologies fail to save water because the accumulated increased return flow is more than the accumulated decreased non-beneficial water consumption. At regional scale, however, water is saved because the return flow percolated to fresh aquifers is seen as beneficial rather than loss. At the same time, the accumulated increase of beneficial water consumption (crop transpiration) exceeds regional water savings, which explains the paradox between wide application of water-saving technologies and more severe regional water shortage. This study provides key new evidence for the paradox of irrigation efficiency and helps reconsidering water-saving technologies and their impacts on regional water resources.

KW - Paradox of irrigation efficiency

KW - Water accounting framework

KW - Water savings estimation

KW - Satellite-based ET partitions

U2 - 10.1016/j.agwat.2021.106793

DO - 10.1016/j.agwat.2021.106793

M3 - Journal article

VL - 249

JO - Agricultural Water Management

JF - Agricultural Water Management

SN - 0378-3774

M1 - 106793

ER -