Can irrigation be sustainable?

Shahbaz Khan, Tariq Rana, Cui Yuanlai, John Blackwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

120 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Globally, about 10 Mha of agricultural land is lost annually due to salinisation, of which about 1.5 Mha is in irrigated areas. While some climate and management aspects are common to semi-arid regions, the detailed mechanisms and options to secure ecological sustainability and economic viability may vary considerably from case to case. This paper applies a whole of system-water balance to compare irrigation in three semi-arid regions suffering from similar sustainability issues: Rechna Doab (RD), Pakistan; the Liuyuankou irrigation system (LIS), China; and Murrumbidgee irrigation area (MIA), Australia. Soil salinity, lack of adequate water resources and groundwater management are major issues in these areas. The MIA and LIS irrigation systems also suffer from soil salinity and low water-use efficiency issues. These similarities occur in spite of very different climatic and underlying hydrogeological conditions. The key data used to compare these different regions are climate and soils, available water resources and their use, as well as components of the water balance. In addition, the history of water resource development in these areas is examined to understand how salinity problems emerge in semi-arid regions and the consequences for production. Based on the efficiency parameters and the definitions of sustainability, approaches are explored to solve common environmental problems while maintaining economic viability and environmental sustainability for irrigation systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-99
Number of pages13
JournalAgricultural Water Management
Volume80
Issue number1-3 SPEC. ISS.
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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irrigation system
irrigation systems
semiarid region
sustainability
irrigation
water resources
arid zones
economic sustainability
environmental sustainability
soil salinity
water balance
water budget
water resource
climate
soil salinization
ecological economics
salinization
water use efficiency
Pakistan
agricultural land

Cite this

Khan, Shahbaz ; Rana, Tariq ; Yuanlai, Cui ; Blackwell, John. / Can irrigation be sustainable?. In: Agricultural Water Management. 2006 ; Vol. 80, No. 1-3 SPEC. ISS. pp. 87-99.
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Khan, S, Rana, T, Yuanlai, C & Blackwell, J 2006, 'Can irrigation be sustainable?', Agricultural Water Management, vol. 80, no. 1-3 SPEC. ISS., pp. 87-99. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agwat.2005.07.006

Can irrigation be sustainable? / Khan, Shahbaz; Rana, Tariq; Yuanlai, Cui; Blackwell, John.

In: Agricultural Water Management, Vol. 80, No. 1-3 SPEC. ISS., 2006, p. 87-99.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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