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Claudia Ringler (IFPRI) • 2019 IFPRI Egypt Seminar "Options for improving irrigation water efficiency"


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As part of the seminar held by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in collaboration with IWMI, World fish and ICARDA “Options for improving irrigation water efficiency for sustainable agricultural development”.

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Claudia Ringler (IFPRI) • 2019 IFPRI Egypt Seminar "Options for improving irrigation water efficiency"

  1. 1. Irrigation Efficiency: Broadening the Toolbox Claudia Ringler Environment and Production Technology Division International Food Policy Research Institute Egypt Seminar Series October 2, 2019
  2. 2. 2 Irrigation Efficiency: Why and How?
  3. 3. 1 >40% water stress 2 Year 2000 prices > 40% 20 - 40% 0 - 20% 2050 52 16 32 2010 36 18 46 > 40% 20 - 40% 0 - 20% 2050 45 25 30 2010 22 19 59 Business as usual (BAU) water productivity, medium growth, 2050 How many people live in water short areas? How much GDP is generated in water scarce regions? ▪ 4.7 Bn people, 70% of 2010 pop. ▪ Increase by 90% compared to 2010 ▪ 63 trillion USD2 1.5 x 2010 total GDP ▪ Increase by 570% compared to 2010 Water stress, percent of total renewable water withdrawn > 50 30 - 40 40 - 50< 20 20 - 30 No data By 2050, under BAU and medium growth, 52% of population and 45% of GDP are in regions at risk due to water stress Ringler et al. (2016)
  4. 4. Irrigated area is projected to continue to grow, to address CC/CV and land shortages [projections in m ha] 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 2010 2030 2050 East Asia & Pacific South Asia SSA MENA LAC Developed IFPRI IMPACT
  5. 5. Concepts of Irrigation Use Efficiency Keller and Keller (1995) beneficial crop ET Classical Irrig Efficiency [IE] = ----------------------------------------------- water delivered to the field beneficial crop ET Effective IE = ---------------------------------------------- water delivered to the field – return flows net profits Economic Effective IE = ---------------------------------------------- water delivered to the field – return flows
  6. 6. How can we improve classical (physical) irrigation efficiency? Flood Furrow Sprinkler Drip ~30% ~60% ~90%~70% Efficiency levels Share area under drip & sprinkler: ~ 20% globally (ICID estimate)
  7. 7. Example MDB, Australia: How a plan to accelerate instream flows improvements through improving IE became expensive  Background: Excessive over-allocation of available water resources, dying riverine ecology, ‘Millennium Drought’  Response: “Water for the Future Plan”: AUD3.1 billion to directly buy water entitlements from willing sellers; and AUS5.8 billion in subsidies for water infrastructure [with neutral or improved socioeconomic impacts]  Cost of irrigation subsidies: ~AUD12,5/m3 compared to ~AUD 2/m3 for buy-back of water rights due to the non-linearity of water savings from irrigation infrastructure investment Grafton 2019
  8. 8. The Paradox of Irrigation Efficiency: IE & water consumption increase Grafton et al. 2018
  9. 9. How to ensure that improved IE not only supports agricultural production but also river flows/ other uses  Understand water flows, particularly return flows and their uses, before introducing advanced irrigation systems [through RS of ET]  Use simple to complex measures to measure how much irrigation is needed [wetting front detectors to soil moisture sensors that trigger remotely controlled operation of irrigation, including in Egypt]  If the goal is to conserve water resources, then a reduction on withdrawals should be introduced together with advanced technologies [or withdrawals can be calculated as net extractions, already accounting for return flow, or charges on return flow reductions could be imposed, etc.]  Behavioral change of irrigators needs to be understood  Uncertainty in weather and flows needs to be factored in Grafton et al. 2018
  10. 10. 10 Drivers of Agricultural Growth in Africa Other ways to improve water use efficiency
  11. 11. The many ways to improve water use efficiency beyond direct irrigation interventions  Semi-dwarf, short duration varieties [image] use less water for the same or higher grain yield  Drought/heat stress tolerant varieties mature under more extreme climates  Improve value chains and cold storage-- Reduce Post-Harvest Losses  Improved water governance—Presence in the Indus Basin Irrigation System improved agricultural productivity of tailend farmers by 10% Mekonnen et al. 2015; Rosegrant et al. 2009
  12. 12. The many ways to improve water use efficiency beyond direct irrigation interventions  Consider support to informal water markets for better water allocation  Paying farmers to use less water [rather than charging them for water]  Increase profits through growing fish in irrigation systems  WUE should not be considered without impacts on GHG emissions and energy use efficiency—drip depends on reliable energy & water; other inputs essential for optimal yield as well  Calculation of salt & toxic pollutant accumulation as a result of IE  Calculate dietary water productivity [image] McCartney et al.2019; Lundqvist et al. 2019; ADB 2017