Reference : Risk management in agricultural water use
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Life sciences : Agriculture & agronomy
Risk management in agricultural water use
Tychon, Bernard mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département des sciences et gestion de l'environnement > Département des sciences et gestion de l'environnement >]
Balaghi, Riad [ > > ]
Jlibene, Mohammed [ > > ]
[en] Agricultural water management ; climate change
[en] Water availability for agricultural activities will decrease in the twenty-first century. As a consequence, agricultural water management will have to improve in order to meet two challenges: satisfy the needs of an increasing world population; and alleviate the climate change impacts.
One way to improve agricultural water management consists of including the ‘risk’ notion as much as possible at the different decision levels of: farmers, farmer corporations and states or associations of states. These three decision levels will be analysed both for rainfed and irrigated agriculture. The poorest countries are those most subject to climate risks, the main risks in developing countries, because they too rarely possess the means to combat excesses or shortages of water during the plant growing period (irrigation schemes) and they cannot rely on crop insurance or other kinds of support to maintain their income in bad years. Consequently, in order to ensure a minimum level of income, farmers will prefer low input practices that provide a low but stable production without involving too much investment or cash. Where possible they will diversify their production.
This paper first defines hazard, vulnerability and risk in the particular context of drought assessment and prediction. It then presents some strategies to reduce water risk in three major categories: (1) more irrigated agricultural land in an efficient manner; (2) increased and better managed pasture and forest areas to benefit from otherwise lost water by evaporation process, increasing animal productivity; (3) well water managed dryland agriculture. In dryland agriculture, some additional public measures are necessary, mainly drought risk insurance and early warning systems, in order to promote investment in drought-prone environments and to provide tools for decision-making.
The adoption of an efficient water use management of rainfall and irrigation will ensure food security, contribute to poverty alleviation, and free water for non-agricultural uses.
The paper presents some new promising techniques and approaches. Finally, it discusses the sharing of risk between the different decision levels and launches some ideas to serve as discussion points in the electronic conference.
Researchers ; Professionals ; Students

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