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Optimizing Deficit Irrigation Scheduling Under Shallow Groundwater Conditions In Lower Reaches Of Amu Darya River Basin

Fazlullah Akhtar, Bernhard Tischbein, Usman Khalid Awan
Published 2013 · Economics
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Water demand for irrigated agriculture is increasing against limited availability of fresh water resources in the lower reaches of the Amu Darya River e.g., Khorezm region of Uzbekistan. Future scenarios predict that Khorezm region will receive fewer water supplies due to climate change, transboundary conflicts and hence farmers have to achieve their yield targets with less water. We conducted a study and used AquaCrop model to develop the optimum and deficit irrigation schedule under shallow groundwater conditions (1.0–1.2 m) in the study region. Cotton being a strategic crop in the region was used for simulations. Capillary rise substantially contributes to crop-water requirements and is the key characteristic of the regional soils. However, AquaCrop does not simulate capillary rise contribution, thereby HYDRUS-1D model was used in this study for the quantification of capillary rise contribution. Alongside optimal irrigation schedule for cotton, deficit strategies were also derived in two ways: proportional reduction from each irrigation event (scenario-A) throughout the growth period as well as reduced water supply at specific crop growth stages (scenario-B). For scenario-A, 20, 40, 50 and 60 % of optimal water was deducted from each irrigation quota whereas for scenario-B irrigation events were knocked out at different crop growth stages (stage 1(emergence), stage 2 (vegetative), stage 3 (flowering) and stage 4 (yield formation and ripening)). For scenario-A, 0, 14, 30 and 48 % of yield reduction was observed respectively. During stress at the late crop development stage, a reduced water supply of 12 % resulted in a yield increase of 8 %. Conversely, during stress at the earlier crop development stage, yield loss was 17–18 %. During water stress at the late ripening stage, no yield loss was observed. Results of this study provide guidelines for policy makers to adopt irrigation schedule depending upon availability of irrigation water.
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