Future climate change could reduce irrigated and rainfed wheat water footprint in arid environments

Rahimi-Moghaddam, Sajjad, Deihimfard, Reza, Collins, Brian, and Azizi, Khosro (2022) Future climate change could reduce irrigated and rainfed wheat water footprint in arid environments. Science of the Total Environment, 807 (3). 150991.

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The concept of water footprint (WF) has been used to manage freshwater resources for the past two decades and is considered as indicator of the sustainability of agricultural systems. Accordingly, the current study aimed to quantify WF and its components in the future climate for rainfed and irrigated wheat agro-ecosystems in 17 provinces of Iran located in arid or semi-arid environments. The provinces were divided into five climate classes. The simulations were conducted under current (1980–2010) and future climate (2040–2070) using the Agricultural Production Systems sIMulator (APSIM) crop model, following the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) protocol. Baseline simulations indicated that the total WF, averaged across all climate classes, was 1148 m3 t−1 for irrigated and 1155 m3 t−1 for rainfed wheat. WF was projected to decline in the future compared to baseline in both irrigated and rainfed systems mostly because of increases in yield of +9% in rainfed systems and 3.5% in irrigated systems, and decreases in water consumption by −5.4% and −10.1%, respectively. However, the share of gray water footprint (WFgray) was projected to increase in the near future for both rainfed (+5.4%) and irrigated (+6.9%) systems. These findings suggest that cleaner and more sustainable production (i.e. obtaining grain yield under optimal water and nitrogen consumption) could be achieved in irrigated and rainfed wheat ago-ecosystems if optimal N fertilizer management is adopted. Additionally, rainfed cultivation can be further expanded in some areas which is expected to result in a substantial reduction in blue water (i.e. less irrigation), especially in sub-humid and semi-arid cool areas.

Item ID: 69713
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-1026
Keywords: APSIM; Evapotranspiration; Iran; RCP scenarios; Multi-model ensemble; Water footprint
Copyright Information: Published Version: © 2021 Published by Elsevier B.V. Accepted Version: © 2021. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2021 03:27
FoR Codes: 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3702 Climate change science > 370299 Climate change science not elsewhere classified @ 50%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410199 Climate change impacts and adaptation not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 26 PLANT PRODUCTION AND PLANT PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 2601 Environmentally sustainable plant production > 260104 Management of water consumption by plant production @ 100%
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