Agricultural water use and management in arid and semiarid areas: Current situation and measures for improvement
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Dehghanisanij, H.; Oweis, T.; Qureshi, Asad Sarwar. 2006. Agricultural water use and management in arid and semiarid areas: Current situation and measures for improvement. Annals of Arid Zone, 45(2):1-24.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/40921
Water is rapidly becoming scarcer especially in arid and semiarid areas such as Central West Asia and North Africa Region (CWANA), while irrigated agriculture is critical for national and world food security in these regions. Due to huge gaps between crop demands and rainfall, most countries of these regions cannot have productive form of agriculture without assured irrigation supplies. Continues decrease in the surface water resources has put enormous pressure on groundwater resources and as a results; throughout the regions groundwater tables are declining. Since water is the most limited factor in these regions, improving the productivity of existing water resources is an attractive alternative to sustain irrigated agriculture. There is a strong need to educate farmers to shift their thinking from "maximizing crop yields? to " optimizing crop yields? . The results show that substantial and sustainable improvements in water productivity can be achieved through integrated farm-resources management. On-farm irrigation water management techniques such as deficit irrigation if coupled with better cropping patterns together with appropriate cultural practices, and improved genetic make-up will help to achieve this objective. Conventional water-management and cropping pattern guidelines, designed to maximize yield per unit area, need to be revised for achieving maximum water productivity. The wide ranges in recorded crop water productivities suggest that agricultural production can be maintained to its current level by using 20 to 40% less water if new water management practices are adopted. This paper reviews the current situation of water scarcity, agricultural water productivity, and suggests options for sustainable management of land and water resources in these regions.