Presentation on theme: "Water Efficiency and Groundwater: Does it matter? Jacob Burke Senior Water Policy Officer Agriculture Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of."— Presentation transcript:
Water Efficiency and Groundwater: Does it matter? Jacob Burke Senior Water Policy Officer Agriculture Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN
CA Chapter 9 Statement Water saving and water use efficiency in irrigation The concept of water use efficiency (the ratio between effective water consumption by crops and water abstracted from its source for irrigation) is subject to controversy and misinterpretation. Developed initially for use in the design of physical structures of water storage and conveyance in irrigation systems (Israelsen 1932), the concept was later interpreted as a measure of irrigation inefficiency and waste: because only 30%–50% of the water withdrawn from its source is actually transpired by crops in a typical irrigation system, many conclude that substantial gains in water volumes can be obtained by increasing water use efficiency in irrigation.
Basic Definitions (Smith, 2001) conveyance efficiency (iec), farm efficiency (ief) and field application efficiency (iea)
Classical Irrigation Efficiency CA (2006) The ratio between effective water consumption by crops and water abstracted from its source for irrigation) Lankford (2006) Classical irrigation efficiency (CIE), defined by the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID, 1978) as a ratio of average depth of water beneficially used to average depth of water applied, while Bhuiyan (1982) defined irrigation efficiency as a ratio of net irrigation requirement to the supply. Using these and other similar computations, efficiency of surface irrigation is held to be around 40%
Effective Irrigation Efficiency “ include (s) assessment of water that is potentially available for reuse downstream, arguing that in river basins where drainage waters are reused, a water multiplier effect results in high irrigation efficiency when assessed at basin level.” Lankford (2006)
Attainable Irrigation Efficiency “ Attainable efficiency is based on the concept that some losses (which may be recovered or non- recovered) can easily be reduced, while others cannot unless considerable effort is expended. Thus, evaporation from canals during conveyance is unavoidable but evaporation occurring from a long period of presaturation wetting of a rice field is avoidable and manageable. Attainable efficiency is the result of dividing ‘‘low dose’’ irrigation by ‘‘high dose’’ irrigation. ” AIE% =low dose irrigation/high dose irrigation
The Ground Water Issue [Lankford (2006) footnote] One of the World Bank’s Chief advisers on water, Stephen Foster of the British Geological Survey, is horrified by the idea that making irrigation more efficient will free water for other uses. ‘‘It has the makings of a very dangerous myth,’’ he says. There is, he adds, ‘‘a horrible flaw in the argument. Most of the water being ‘saved’ is never truly wasted in the first place. Some, it is true, is lost to evaporation. But most—the water that seeps underground from fields and canals—eventually finds its way to nature’s underground water reservoirs, from which millions of farmers subsequently pump water to supplement river water for irrigation.’’ The Independent (UK), ‘‘The Great Water Myth’’ by Fred Pearce, 28 Jan 2004.
North China Plain Research “By considering the entire hydrologic system, including both the soil profile and the underlying aquifer, we found that evapotranspiration is the only water actually depleted from the system. The only way to save water is to reduce evapotranspiration, which can be accomplished by reducing the cropped area. Thus, an eventual shift from irrigation to other, less consumptive water uses must play a crucial role in any long-term solution to water-table declines.” Eloise Kendy et al 2003 IWMI Research Report 71
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