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Improving irrigation efficiency will be insufficient to meet future water demand in the Nile Basin

Author:
Multsch, S., Elshamy, M.E., Batarseh, S., Seid, A.H., Frede, H.-G., Breuer, L.
Source:
Journal of hydrology 2017 v.12 pp. 315-330
ISSN:
2214-5818
Subject:
basins, decision support systems, guidelines, infrastructure, irrigation requirement, irrigation water, population growth, water conservation, water stress, water supply, watersheds, Egypt, Nile River, Sudan
Abstract:
The Nile River Basin covers an area of approximately 3.2 million km2 and is shared by 11 countries. Rapid population growth is expected in the region. The irrigation requirements of Nile riparian countries of existing (6.4 million ha) and additional planned (3.8 million ha, 2050) irrigation schemes were calculated, and the likely water savings through improved irrigation efficiency were evaluated. We applied SPARE:WATER to calculate irrigation demands on the basis of the well-known FAO56 Crop Irrigation Guidelines. Egypt (67km3yr−1) and Sudan (19km3yr−1) consume the highest share of the 84km3yr−1 total (2011). Assuming today’s poor irrigation infrastructure, the total consumption was predicted to increase to 123km3yr−1 (2050), an amount far exceeding the total annual yield of the Nile Basin. Therefore, a key challenge for water resources management in the Nile Basin is balancing the increasing irrigation water demand basin-wide with the available water supply. We found that water savings from improved irrigation technology will not be able to meet the additional needs of planned areas. Under a theoretical scenario of maximum possible efficiency, the deficit would still be 5km3yr−1. For more likely efficiency improvement scenarios, the deficit ranged between 23 and 29km3yr−1. Our results suggest that that improving irrigation efficiency may substantially contribute to decreasing water stress on the Nile system but would not completely meet the demand.The Nile River Basin covers an area of approximately 3.2 million km2 and is shared by 11 countries. Rapid population growth is expected in the region.Record population growth is expected for the study region. Therefore, the irrigation requirements of Nile riparian countries of existing (6.4 million ha) and additional planned (3.8 million ha, 2050) irrigation schemes were calculated, and likely water savings through improved irrigation efficiency were evaluated. We applied a spatial decision support system (SPARE:WATER) to calculate the irrigation demands on the basis of the well-known FAO56 Crop Irrigation Guidelines.Egypt (67km3yr−1) and Sudan (19km3yr−1) consume the highest share of 84km3yr−1 (2011). Assuming today’s poor irrigation infrastructure, the total demand were predicted to increase to 123km3yr−1 (2050), an amount far exceeding the total annual yield of the Nile Basin. Therefore, a key challenge for water resources management in the Nile Basin is balancing the increasing irrigation water demand and available water supply.We found that water savings from improved irrigation technology will not be able to meet the additional needs of planned areas. Under a theoretical scenario of maximum possible efficiency, the deficit would still be 5 km3yr−1. For more likely efficiency improvement scenarios, the deficit ranges between 23 and 29km3yr−1. Our results suggest that improving irrigation efficiency may substantially contribute to decreasing water stress on the Nile system but would not completely meet the demand.
Agid:
5704934