• A sustainable management of global freshwater resources requires reliable estimates of the
    water demanded by irrigated agriculture. This has been attempted by the Food and Agriculture
    Organization (FAO) through country surveys and censuses, or through Global
    Models, which compute irrigation water withdrawals with sub-models on crop types and
    calendars, evapotranspiration, irrigation efficiencies, weather data and irrigated areas, among
    others. Here we demonstrate that these strategies err on the side of excess complexity, as
    the values reported by FAO and outputted by Global Models are largely conditioned by
    irrigated areas and their uncertainty. Modelling irrigation water withdrawals as a function of
    irrigated areas yields almost the same results in a much parsimonious way, while permitting
    the exploration of all model uncertainties. Our work offers a robust and more transparent
    approach to estimate one of the most important indicators guiding our policies on water
    security worldwide.

  • “Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and High Meadows Environmental Institute, Princeton University, NJ, USA
    Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities (SVT), University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway”



    Copyright: © The Author(s) 2021

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