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Quantifying the poorly known role of groundwater in agriculture: the case of Cyprus
Water Resources Management (2013)
  • Christos Zoumides, Cyprus University of Technology
  • Adriana Bruggeman
  • Stelios Pashiardis
  • Theodoros Zachariadis, Cyprus University of Technology
Agriculture in the Mediterranean region is constrained by limited water resources and in many countries irrigation demand exceeds the renewable water supply. This paper presents a comprehensive approach to (a) quantify the consumptive green (soil moisture provided by precipitation) and blue (irrigation) water use for crop production, (b) distinguish the contribution of groundwater to irrigation supply and (c) estimate groundwater overabstraction. A spatiotemporally explicit soil water balance model, based on the FAO-56 dual crop coefficient approach, which includes the computation of evaporation losses of the different irrigation systems, was applied to the 5,760-km2 area of the Republic of Cyprus for the agro-meteorological years 1995–2009. The model uses national agricultural statistics, community-level data from the agricultural census and daily data from 34 meteorological stations and 70 precipitation gauges. Groundwater over-abstraction is quantified per groundwater body, based on the sustainable abstraction rates specified in the Cyprus River Basin Management Plan, as prepared for the EU Water Framework Directive. It was found that, on average, total agricultural water use was 506 Mm3/year, of which 62 % is attributed to green water use and 38 % to blue water use. Groundwater contributed, on average, 81 % (151 Mm3/year) to blue water use and exceeded the recommended abstraction rates by 45 % (47 Mm3/year). Even though the irrigated area decreased by 18 % during the 2008 drought year, relative to the wettest year (2003), total blue water use decreased by only 1 %. The limited surface water supply during the driest year resulted in a 37 % increase in groundwater use, relative to the wettest year, and exceeded the sustainable abstraction rate by 53 % (55 Mm3/year). Overall, the model provides objective and quantitative outcomes that can potentially contribute to the improvement of water resource management in Mediterranean environments, in the light of climate change and expected policy reforms.
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Citation Information
Christos Zoumides, Adriana Bruggeman, Stelios Pashiardis and Theodoros Zachariadis. "Quantifying the poorly known role of groundwater in agriculture: the case of Cyprus" Water Resources Management (2013)
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