Water Requirements for Irrigation and the Environment


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Soil Texture

Polluted river water entering the sea may adversely affect the ecology along the sea shore see Aswan dam. The natural buildup of sedimentation can reduce downstream river flows due to the installation of irrigation systems. Sedimentation is an essential part of the ecosystem that requires the natural flux of the river flow. This natural cycle of sediment dispersion replenishes the nutrients in the soil, that will in turn, determine the livelihood of the plants and animals that rely on the sediments carried downstream.

The benefits of heavy deposits of sedimentation can be seen in large rivers like the Nile River.


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The sediment from the delta has built up to form a giant aquifer during flood season, and retains water in the wetlands. The wetlands that are created and sustained due to built up sediment at the basin of the river is a habitat for numerous species of birds.


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This has been known to happen in the Sanmenxia reservoir in China. Shifting more towards mass irrigation installments in order to meet more socioeconomic demands is going against the natural balance of nature, and use water pragmatically- use it where it is found [13]. Downstream water users often have no legal water rights and may fall victim of the development of irrigation. Pastoralists and nomadic tribes may find their land and water resources blocked by new irrigation developments without having a legal recourse.

Flood-recession cropping may be seriously affected by the upstream interception of river water for irrigation purposes. Irrigation projects may reduce the fishing opportunities of the original population and the grazing opportunities for cattle. The livestock pressure on the remaining lands may increase considerably, because the ousted traditional pastoralist tribes will have to find their subsistence and existence elsewhere, overgrazing may increase, followed by serious soil erosion and the loss of natural resources.

The depletion of groundwater aquifers, which is caused by the suppression of the seasonal flood cycle, is damaging the forests downstream of the dam. When more groundwater is pumped from wells than replenished, storage of water in the aquifer is being mined and the use of that water is no longer sustainable.

As levels fail, it becomes more difficult to extract water and pumps will struggle to maintain the design flowrate and consume more may fenergy per unit of water. Eventually it may become so difficult to extract groundwater that farmers may be forced to abandon irrigated agriculture. Some notable examples include:. The effects of irrigation on watertable, soil salinity and salinity of drainage and groundwater, and the effects of mitigative measures can be simulated and predicted using agro-hydro-salinity models like SaltMod and SahysMod [23].

What Is The Environmental Impact Of Irrigation?

Irrigation can have a variety negative impacts on ecology and socioeconomy , which may be mitigated in a number of ways. These include siting the irrigation project in a location which minimises negative impacts. It often takes time to accurately predict the impact that new irrigation schemes will have on the ecology and socioeconomy of a region. By the time these predictions are available, a considerable amount of time and resources may have already been expended in the implementation of that project. When that is the case, the project managers will often only change the project if the impact would be considerably more than they had originally expected.

Frequently irrigation schemes are seen as extremely necessary for socioeconomic well-being especially in developing countries. One example of this can be demonstrated from a proposal for an irrigation scheme in Malawi. Here it was shown that the potential positive effects of the irrigation project that was being proposed "outweighed the potential negative impacts". It was stated that the impacts would mostly "be localized, minimal, short term occurring during the construction and operation phases of the Project".

E56 - Irrigation by recycling waste water

In order to help alleviate and prevent major environmental impacts, they would use techniques that minimize the potential negative impacts. The original primary purposes of the irrigation project were to reduce poverty, improve food security, create local employment, increase household income and enhance the sustainability of land use. Due to this careful planning this project was successful both in improving the socialeconomic conditions in the region and ensuring that land and water are sustainability into the future.

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1. Introduction

Tuinenburg et al. Keys et al. Chapter 1- Irrigation overview. In: The earth's carrying capacity, Some related reviews and analysis. On line: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on Irrigation projects can have large benefits, but the negative side effects are often overlooked.

The lower the irrigation efficiency, the higher are the losses. The effects of irrigation on water table, soil salinity and salinity of drainage and groundwater, and the effects of mitigation measures can be simulated and predicted using agro-hydro-salinity models. Trnka et al. Olesen et al. Iglesias et al. Water is essential for plant growth and there is a relationship between plant biomass production and transpiration, with the water-use efficiency biomass production per unit water transpired being affected by crop species as well as management.

Increasing atmospheric CO 2 concentration will lead to higher water use efficiency through reductions in plant transpiration and increased photosynthesis. Higher temperatures and lower relative humidity leads to higher evaporative demands, which reduces the water-use efficiency. The resulting effect of climate change on water-use efficiency is therefore a combination of changes in temperature and atmospheric CO 2 concentration as well as changes in crop choice and management. The water demand by crops must be met through rainfall during the growing period, from soil water storage or by irrigation.

In drought prone areas, increasing demands for water by industrial and urban users intensify the competition for water for irrigation in agriculture. Further objectives include Promoting action by Member States and Climate-proofing EU action: promoting adaptation in key vulnerable sectors. Many EU Member States have already taken action, such as by adopting national adaptation strategies, and several have also prepared action plans on climate change adaptation.

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The indicator has been produced querying a database, internal to Joint Research Centre JRC , containing meteo data at 25 kilometers grid level, interpolated from meteo station data. The interpolation is performed taking into account only arable land, potentially suitable for crop growth.

Effects of climate change on the growing season and crop phenology can be monitored directly, partly through remote sensing growing season and partly through monitoring of specific phenological events such as flowering. There is no common monitoring network for crop phenology in Europe, and data on this therefore has to be based on various national recordings, often from agronomic experiments. Crop yield and crop requirements for irrigation are not only affected by climate change, but also by management and a range of socio-economic factors.

The effects of climate change on these factors therefore have to be estimated indirectly using agrometeorological indicators and through statistical analyses between climatic variables and factors such as crop yield. The projections of climate change impacts and adaptation in agriculture rely heavily on modelling, and it needs to be recognised that there is often a chain of uncertainty involved in the projections going from emission scenario, through climate modelling, downscaling and to assessments of impacts using an impact model.

The extent of all these uncertainties is rarely quantified, even though some studies have assessed uncertainties related to individual components. The crop modelling community has only recently started addressing uncertainties related to modelling impacts of climate change on crop yield and effect of possible adaptation options, and so far only few studies have involved livestock systems.

Future studies also need to better incorporate effects of extreme climate events as well as biotic hazards e. Further information on uncertainties is provided in Section 1.

High yields, staying within irrigated water requirements not conflicting goals

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Water Requirements for Irrigation and the Environment Water Requirements for Irrigation and the Environment
Water Requirements for Irrigation and the Environment Water Requirements for Irrigation and the Environment
Water Requirements for Irrigation and the Environment Water Requirements for Irrigation and the Environment
Water Requirements for Irrigation and the Environment Water Requirements for Irrigation and the Environment
Water Requirements for Irrigation and the Environment Water Requirements for Irrigation and the Environment
Water Requirements for Irrigation and the Environment Water Requirements for Irrigation and the Environment
Water Requirements for Irrigation and the Environment Water Requirements for Irrigation and the Environment

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