Proper utilisation of water in irrigated agriculture

The water footprint of a river basin with a special focus on groundwater: The case of Guadalquivir basin (Spain) by Dumont et al. (2013)


Interesting basin scale investigation:

Dumont, A., Salmoral, G. and Llamas, M.R. (2013) The water footprint of a river basin with a special focus on groundwater: The case of Guadalquivir basin (Spain), Water Resources and Industry, 1-2: 60-76.

In addition to revealing the hidden link between products or consumption patterns of populations and their needs in terms of water resources, the waterfootprint (WF)indicator generates new debates and solutions on water management at basin scale. This paper analyses the green and blue WF of the Guadalquivir basin and its integration with environmental water consumption, with a special emphasis on the WF from groundwater and its consequences on current and future depletion of surface water. In a normal year, green WF (agriculture and pastures) amounts to 190mm on a total green water consumption of 410mm, while the blue WF (50mm) represents half of the total blue water flows. This constitutes a first overview and alternative interpretations of the WF as human water appropriation are introduced. The blue WF is almost entirely associated to agriculture(40mm). The presentation of its evolution over the period 1997–2008 reveals the rising WF from groundwater (13mm in 2008),86% being current consumption of surface flows. This evolution is particularly ascribed to the recent development of irrigated olive groves from groundwater. To prevent a higher pressure on the environment, this new use,like all others (thermo-solar plants, tourism, etc.), could have been obtained from the reallocation of water from crops with low water productivity. It means that water is not lacking in the Guadalquivir basin if the governance setting integrates more flexibility and equity in the allocation of water to address climatic variability and the emergence of new demands.

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