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In fact, in many parts of SSA there is plenty of water available. Such water harvesting can be done at the field, farm or watershed level. In some places, there is a potential for groundwater extraction using boreholes. Furthermore, climate change and a growing population continue to pose additional challenges to water management in agriculture.

Sustainable management of water resources | Alberto Montanari

Prolonged periods of drought in many parts of SSA are becoming increasingly frequent. Credit: Katrin Glatzel, Senegal. At the same time, the challenge of meeting global food demand requires an increase in the level of agricultural water productivity and some increases in global water use.

Suitable water conservation methods minimise negative environmental impacts of drought such as soil erosion and desertification, whilst increasing crop yields throughout the year.

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Some techniques can also work at a smaller scale to conserve water within the cropped area by reducing run-off and keeping the water where it falls as much as possible. Developing sustainable supplies of good quality water will be essential for working towards a thriving agriculture sector. The 10 most neglected displacement crises of 02 Jul Crops growing during the month of February to June less rainy season are among the highest irrigation requirements. Based on RCI as the value far from 1 reflect rainfall contribution is insufficient to satisfy the crop water requirements for the whole growth stages.

Therefore, there is a need for supplemental irrigation and rainwater harvesting and a necessity for integrated water resources management. To reduce the intensity of water shortage therefore conservation planning and water management at watershed level in an integrated manner is critical. Similarly, soil and water conservation management practices is essential for the communities to reduce runoff and other resources for future uses and determine the optimal amount of water resources consumption at the irrigation fields is an urgent issues.

As a result, there is a need to do more efforts related to water harvesting and integrated water resources management for the sustainability of agriculture and over all human survival. Environment, water and land resources are the most fragile component of the earth. To secure the sustainability of adequate availability of water, sustainable food supply and public health, the interaction between these fragile resources have significant influence, therefore properly managed. Because the quality of people life is directly depending on how well these resources are conserved Matondo ; Worku et al.


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In the development of human life, water has considerable contribution. During the ancient time human civilization has grew up along Euphrates and Tigris, Indus and Nile river valley. Even though it played a major role in the human endeavour, the planning and management of these resources was for single purpose only. Due to increase in competing interest over resources resulted from rapid population growth and higher demand for productivity, consequently multi-purpose water resources planning is emerged. In the previous, decades water resources planning and management is one-way top-down approach particularly in the developing countries.

In this approach the people has no say on the issue related to planning and implementation of water resources project. Integrated water resources planning and management is considered as a participatory, technically as well as scientifically organized. Involvement in any activities of water resources project, stakeholders are the focal point in the integrated water resources planning and management approach.

To address specific local issues the empowered local communities has responsibility in a coordinated and integrated way. During the ancient periods, the plan of water related projects did not pay attention for the rest of the environment and hence resultant negative consequence to the environment.

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The environmental impact assessment therefore is vital parts of water resources planning and management. To satisfy goal and objectives of the society to present and for the future as well as preserving the integrity between environmental, ecological and hydrological system, sustainable water resources systems planning and management are designed Loucks According to Simonovic and Wurbs , however, for the future water resources related problems are drastically more complex.

As can be seen in Fig.

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Complex nature of interactions and feedbacks between the natural and human system After Falkenmark a , b. Integrated water resources planning and management is one of the element of natural resources management, hence it has considered as one of the tools of environmental management Fig. The optimal, efficient use and management of water resource for the development of agricultural sector is one of the crucial parts of integrated water resources planning and management as of it integrates the development of water and land resources, and the development of economic and social aspects for the watershed.

It used to coordinate and harmonize between human activities, which undertake in the watershed, and the conflicting interest among users through increasing the benefit obtain. Therefore, the concept and essence of integrated water resources planning and management in boosting productivity obtaining from agricultural and other sectors within the constraints, which imposed by the social, ecological, environmental and economical context of a certain watershed Gorantiwar and Smout ; Gorantiwar et al.

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According to Molden et al. They advocated consideration related to principles of irrigation scheduling, which is an opportunity for communities using irrigation practice to cope with the natural resources pressure that has been put on them to utilize available water optimally and consideration to the downstream natural resources users.

According to Tantawy et al. The objectives of allocation and distribution plans is to optimize the uses of water and hence land resources. In these methods, to obtain optimum benefit from irrigated agriculture, the water and land resources were optimized. Even though the distribution models were mostly concerned with enhancing the productivity of agriculture from irrigation projects, it did not give attention issues related to water distribution for all communities found within the watershed particularly at the time of limited water available.

Awulachew et al.

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In addition to that, related to inefficient water management in the country empirical evidences have identified. For example, Girma and Seleshi , identified inefficient management and low performance of some irrigation projects from Awash and Blue Nile basin; Checkol and Alamirew , explained poor water management and inefficient water utilization at the Geray irrigation project in the Northern part of Ethiopia.

However, Awulachew et al. Integrated water resources management is considered as a key component in which all relevant natural resources issues land and water resources are taken into consideration, the concerned parties along with specific socio-economic as well as environmental issues integrated together, with sustainability of integrated natural resources management. The key assumption of IWRM approach, which formulate the foundation for sustainable development is the basis for multi-disciplinary groups at various levels i.

Integrated waters resources management flow chart After Al Radif In the context of sustainable development, integrated water resources management, environmental management and natural resources have significant contribution Fig. The assumption of sustainable development includes of various components like environmental, economic and social components. The watershed of a certain catchment integrates the downstream with the upstream in the form of water flowing as a part of the overall hydrological cycle of the watershed.

The concern of upstream parts of the watershed are increasing the returns of agriculture productivity and other benefit. Communities obtaining their benefit from water diversion, over cultivation and expansion of agriculture into marginal land from the upstream parts of the watershed are now worried about resulting consequence to the downstream resources availability. However, over exploitation of natural resources in the upstream parts of the watershed negatively contribute for the downstream.

Even though increasing the benefit and productivity for the whole catchment in a certain watershed, requires assessment of resource demand as well as equitable share of available resources in a rational watershed perspective. Besides this, allocation of available resource needs participatory planning and management that consider the involvement of concerned stakeholders in the watershed. In determining the benefit of upstream water availability to the downstream farming system is the basic problems in which the watershed planners are facing. Likewise, it is difficult to determine how the availability of these resources might change over time as the upstream users consume more resource.

Therefore, the benefit obtained from irrigated agriculture in the watershed can increase through minimizing the amount of available water used and optimizing the timing of water application for crops in the form of irrigation scheduling based on crop water requirement Reca et al. Reca et al. To reduce pressure of water shortage therefore conservation planning and water management at watershed level is critical Worku et al.


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  • Worku et al. Likewise, natural resources conservation management practices is helpful for the communities to determine the optimal amount of water resources consumption at the irrigation fields is therefore a key issue. As a result, there is a need to do more jobs related to water harvesting and management on the one hand and optimize the benefit form agriculture on other hand.

    Without enhancing the efficiency of water use, continuous and over exploitation of natural resource may result for conflicting interest among users within the watershed and between watersheds. Hence, the main objectives of this paper is to compute crop water requirements of major crops, describe the possibilities and opportunities of water harvesting and implementing integrated water resources management. The area, Beressa watershed, is located in the central highlands of Ethiopia. The watershed is drained by the headwaters of the Beressa River and it is one of the tributaries that forms part of upper Blue Nile basin.

    For this research, Beressa watershed has selected as case study because it represents the catchments where there is high competition over resources use. Additionally, the watershed can be considered as representative of the catchment of high landscape and various climatic zone varied within short distances. The physiographic characteristics of the area is mixed with steep-sided gullies, plateaus, hills and river gorges.