Application of GIS and crop growth models in estimating water productivity

Ines, Amor Valeriano M.; Das Gupta, Ashim; Loof, Rainer

Tighter competition in water use is projected in the future. As water demand increases, water related problems could happen along the way. Accordingly, issues on water availability and use could be crucial to study to search for ways and means on how to cope up with the present trend. Sound water management practices could play a key role to the solution of problems relating to water availability and use. Water use in agriculture is considered the highest among other water users because of the water intensive processes involved in it. Aside from the crop water requirements, water loss, which are not beneficial to crop processes can add a huge volume to the total water usage in agriculture. Base from this argument, there could be greater possibility to save water from agriculture, which can be used for other purposes thereafter. To explore this option, analysis at the crop level could be beneficial. However, the issue of scaling should be also considered because the knowledge on the field scale could not be generally true in the basin scale. The objective of the study was to apply crop growth simulation models coupled with geographic information system (GIS) to analyze water productivity, which is an indicator of water use efficiency, at the basin scale. The methodology was applied to Laoag River Basin in Ilocos Norte, Philippines to study water productivity in spatial and temporal dimensions. Three crops were considered in the analysis: rice, maize and peanut. Simulations were done for both existing and potential agricultural areas. The potential productions of the selected crops from October 1996–September 1997 were used as bases in determining water productivity for the three cropping seasons (CS) being considered in the study. Water-limited productions were simulated for each of the crops, for each of the CS in the basin. Moreover, a marginal productivity analysis was done to determine the potential of water for crop production in the basin. Subsequently, the significance of irrigation was emphasized in the analysis when availability of water, and the combination of water and nitrogen (N) are limiting, respectively. The results showed that the spatio-temporal analysis of water productivity could provide substantial information for water saving opportunities and, hence, strategies in irrigated agriculture.

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Agricultural Water Management

More About This Work

Academic Units
International Research Institute for Climate and Society
Published Here
July 24, 2012