Water and energy footprint of irrigated agriculture in the Mediterranean region. Daccache, A.; Ciurana, J.; Rodriguez, D.; and Knox, J. Environmental Research Letters, 2014.
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Irrigated agriculture constitutes the largest consumer of freshwater in the Mediterranean region and provides a major source of income and employment for rural livelihoods. However, increasing droughts and water scarcity have highlighted concerns regarding the environmental sustainability of agriculture in the region. An integrated assessment combining a gridded water balance model with a geodatabase and GIS has been developed and used to assess the water demand and energy footprint of irrigated production in the region. Modelled outputs were linked with crop yield and water resources data to estimate water (m3 kg-1) and energy (CO2 kg-1) productivity and identify vulnerable areas or 'hotspots'. For a selected key crops in the region, irrigation accounts for 61 km3 yr-1 of water abstraction and 1.78 Gt CO2 emissions yr-1, with most emissions from sunflower (73 kg CO2/t) and cotton (60 kg CO2/t) production. Wheat is a major strategic crop in the region and was estimated to have a water productivity of 1000 t Mm-3 and emissions of 31 kg CO2/t. Irrigation modernization would save around 8 km3 of water but would correspondingly increase CO2 emissions by around +135%. Shifting from rain-fed to irrigated production would increase irrigation demand to 166 km3 yr-1 (+137%) whilst CO2 emissions would rise by +270%. The study has major policy implications for understanding the water-energy-food nexus in the region and the trade-offs between strategies to save water, reduce CO2 emissions and/or intensify food production. © 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd.
@article{daccache_water_2014,
	title = {Water and energy footprint of irrigated agriculture in the {Mediterranean} region},
	volume = {9},
	doi = {10.1088/1748-9326/9/12/124014},
	abstract = {Irrigated agriculture constitutes the largest consumer of freshwater in the Mediterranean region and provides a major source of income and employment for rural livelihoods. However, increasing droughts and water scarcity have highlighted concerns regarding the environmental sustainability of agriculture in the region. An integrated assessment combining a gridded water balance model with a geodatabase and GIS has been developed and used to assess the water demand and energy footprint of irrigated production in the region. Modelled outputs were linked with crop yield and water resources data to estimate water (m3 kg-1) and energy (CO2 kg-1) productivity and identify vulnerable areas or 'hotspots'. For a selected key crops in the region, irrigation accounts for 61 km3 yr-1 of water abstraction and 1.78 Gt CO2 emissions yr-1, with most emissions from sunflower (73 kg CO2/t) and cotton (60 kg CO2/t) production. Wheat is a major strategic crop in the region and was estimated to have a water productivity of 1000 t Mm-3 and emissions of 31 kg CO2/t. Irrigation modernization would save around 8 km3 of water but would correspondingly increase CO2 emissions by around +135\%. Shifting from rain-fed to irrigated production would increase irrigation demand to 166 km3 yr-1 (+137\%) whilst CO2 emissions would rise by +270\%. The study has major policy implications for understanding the water-energy-food nexus in the region and the trade-offs between strategies to save water, reduce CO2 emissions and/or intensify food production. © 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd.},
	number = {12},
	journal = {Environmental Research Letters},
	author = {Daccache, A. and Ciurana, J.S. and Rodriguez, Diaz and Knox, J.W.},
	year = {2014},
	keywords = {Co2 emissions, Water productivity, Water resources, food security, nexus}
}
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