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An Irrigation Performance Assessment Tool (IPAT) for water saving in agriculture

Author(s): a case study in Morocco
Congress: 2008
Author(s): Gerbert J. Roerink(1), Claire Jacobs(1), Ali Hammani(2), Aziz Bellouti(3), Fatima Z. Cherkaoui(3)
(1)Alterra, Wageningen, The Netherlands (2)Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan II, Rabat, Morocco (3)Office Régional de Mise en Valeur Agricole du Tadla (ORMVAT), Morocco

Keyword(s): irrigation performance, productivity, management support, GIS, remote sensing
AbstractTo quantify and improve irrigation performance, the use of remote sensing has proven to have many advantages. Operational use in the water management sector is however limited mainly due to two key constraints: the low user- friendliness of remote sensing data and the fact that irrigation engineers are not acquainted with the possibilities of remote sensing. To overcome these problems a basic, easy-to-use ArcGIS user interface, called Irrigation Performance Assessment Tool (IPAT) is developed (Roerink and Noordman, 2007). IPAT calculates a set of indicators that gives insight in water use from three different perspectives: Water Balance, Economy and Environment (Bos et al., 2005). The indicators allow to find a “best possible” match between water demand and water supply in irrigation considering downstream effects at basin level. Benchmark values and critical values of selected performance indicators are determined and incorporated into the support system. The performance indicators are derived on a temporal/spatial basis, using in-situ data and raster data derived from remote sensing (evapotranspiration, biomass production) and visualises performance scenarios into a Geographic Information System (GIS). The IPAT support tool is applied for the Tadla irrigation perimeter in Morocco. The area is known for low water use efficiencies in irrigation and excessive groundwater exploitation. IPAT is used to quantify the performance of irrigation in Tadla and to formulate water saving practices. The tool is adapted to the local situation in consultation with the local user, the Office Régional de Mise en Valeur Agricole du Tadla (ORMVAT) being the responsible agency for the development, supply and distribution of surface water resources in Tadla. Based on the calculated water balance indicators for the perimeter it is clear that groundwater subtraction plays an important role and the volumes are quantified. It also reveals that the field application ratio is very low for surface irrigation, indicating that only a small part of the delivered water to the field is consumed by the plant. Areas with sprinkler and drip irrigation give higher application ratios. The actual over potential evapotranspiration ratio is relatively low during specific crop stages in the irrigation season, resulting in low crop water productivity values in some areas of the perimeter. This confirms that the water supply schedule should better be matched to meet the crop water requirements. Improved scenarios are formulated to enhance food production and to ensure a sustainable use of water. Conclusions The IPAT support tool promotes a local long-term operationalisation of irrigation performance indicators with the use of remote sensing and GIS to improve irrigation water management. The tool monitors performance of irrigation systems and supports irrigation authorities to formulate water saving practices. Although the project is not finalized yet, promising results have been obtained so far, which demonstrate the usefulness of the IPAT tool for irrigation management in Tadla, Morocco. Acknowledgements The research described in this paper is conducted in the framework of the AquaStress project (2005-2009), an EU funded integrated project (http://www.aquastress.net/). References Bos, M.G., M.A. Burton and D.J. Molden, 2005. Irrigation and drainage performance assessment: practical guidelines. CABI Publishing, Wallingford, UK, 158 p. Roerink, G.J., and E.J.M. Noordman, 2007. Irrigation Performance Assessment Tool (IPAT). Wageningen, Alterra, Alterra-report 1467, 81 p.
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