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01.11.2011 | Ausgabe 14/2011

Water Resources Management 14/2011

Impacts of Combined Technical and Economic Measures on Water Saving in Agriculture under Water Availability Uncertainty

Zeitschrift:
Water Resources Management > Ausgabe 14/2011
Autoren:
Daniel El Chami, Alessandra Scardigno, Giulio Malorgio

Abstract

In Emilia Romagna region (northern Italy), the Water Protection Plan (WPP) — a tool designed to reach the objectives of the Water Framework Directive — established different measures to achieve a good quantitative status of water bodies. The objective of this study is to evaluate the combined economic, agronomic and environmental impacts of four measures of the WPP on the “Renana” reclamation and irrigation scheme, and to quantify the water conservation in agriculture under the uncertainty of water availability. To this purpose, a mathematical stochastic model able to represent uncertainty in water availability was designed and implemented. Some data were collected from farms, and local sources were used as well to test the model. Each analyzed measure was simulated in a single scenario, and subsequently combined with other measures. The performed simulations are the following: application of volumetric water pricing (Scenario WFD1), awarding incentives for farmers to improve on-farm irrigation efficiency (Scenario WFD2a), combination of WFD1 and WFD2a (Scenario WFD2b), reduction of water abstraction in case of water shortage (Scenario WFD3a), combination of WFD1 and WFD3a (Scenario WFD3b), increasing distribution efficiency in the channel system (Scenario WFD4a) and combination of WFD1 and WFD4a (Scenario WFD4b). Results have shown that scenarios WFD2a and WFD4a generate a higher income for farmers and produce a positive ecological impact (water use and soil cover) but tend to increase total water use. Scenarios WFD1 and WFD3a have the opposite effects since they reduce farmers’ income but decrease water use as well. Only WFD1 could be favorable for the Board governing the scheme (RIB) in terms of economic returns. Finally, results have shown that combined scenarios WFD2b and WFD4b, respectively, could modify the trade-off between economic and environmental objectives and could be more effective since they significantly reduce water consumption and minimize losses in farmers’ income.

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