Understanding drainage dynamics and irrigation management in a semi-arid mediterranean basin
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Irrigation is one of the main users of water worldwide and its overuse may affect the natural regimes of water systems. To avoid this, drainage and irrigation management needs to be improved. This study aims to determine the amount of water lost to drainage in a semi-arid Mediterranean irrigated area. Water use, rainfall and drainage were monitored for 12 months (2019–2020) in a 425 ha sub-basin in the Algerri-Balaguer irrigation district (8000 ha, NE Spain). In addition, irrigation requirements were estimated using the single-crop FAO-56 method and a two-source energy balance model (TSEB) was used to estimate actual evapotranspiration in the sub-basin. Water lost to drainage in the sub-basin was estimated as 18% of the total water that entered the perimeter as irrigation and rainfall, which are almost five time higher than theoretical requirements of leaching. Out of the total drainage water, 57% was estimated to be irrigation water and 43% rainwater. The average amount of irrigation water used was 614 mm and irrigation efficiency in the sub-basin was estimated at 80.2% and averaged actual evapotranspiration at 1144 mm. The available margin of improvement is between 19.3% of the present irrigation drainage ratio and the 3.8% estimated with the leaching requirement model.
Is part ofWater, 2023, vol. 15, núm. 1, p. 1-23
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