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Adaptive irrigation measures in response to extreme weather events: empirical evidence from the North China plain

Jinxia Wang, Yu Yang, Jikun Huang, Bhim Adhikari
Regional environmental change 2019 v.19 no.4 pp. 1009-1022
climate change, drought, farmers, information services, infrastructure, irrigation, issues and policy, risk reduction, China
Growing evidence indicates that climate change will exacerbate the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events, particularly drought. The North China plain is an important agricultural production region that is subject to a significant shortage of water and is often hit by extreme weather events, particularly drought. Therefore, this study aims to examine how farmers in the North China plain take adaptive irrigation measures in response to drought, the determinants, and the effectiveness of their responses. The results show that, when confronted by severe drought, farmers change their irrigation practices by enhancing the intensity and increasing the efficiency of the irrigation to mitigate the negative effects of such drought. Factors such as the local irrigation infrastructure; provision of physical, financial, and technical policy support; and early-warning information services are of significant help to farmers in taking adaptive measures. Further analysis shows that such adaptive response significantly mitigates yield loss and reduces the risk of crop failure. The paper concludes with some policy implications.