Assessment of agricultural water resources sustainability in arid regions using virtual water concept: Case of South Khorasan Province, Iran

Ehsan Qasemipour, Ali Abbasi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
65 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Cropping pattern plays an important role in providing food and agricultural water resources sustainability, especially in arid regions in which the concomitant socioeconomic dangers of water shortage would be inevitable. In this research, six indices are applied to classify 37 cultivated crops according to Central Product Classification (CPC). The respective 10-year data (2005–2014) were obtained from Agricultural Organization of South Khorasan (AOSKh) province. The water footprint concept along with some economic indicators are used to assess the water use efficiency. Results show that blue virtual water contributes to almost 99 percent of Total Virtual Water (TVW). In this occasion that an increasing pressure is exerted on groundwater resources, improper pattern of planting crops has to be beyond reproach. The improper cropping pattern in the study area led to the overuse of 346 × 106 m3 of water annually. More specifically, cereals cultivation was neither environmentally nor economically sustainable and since they accounted for the largest share of water usage at the province level, importing them should be considered as an urgent priority. Vegetable cultivation could be further increased—instead of other water-intensive crops such as fruits—at the province level, not only due to their low TVW, but also to their higher financial output.
Original languageEnglish
Article number449
Number of pages16
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Arid regions
  • Sustainability
  • Virtualwater trade
  • Water footprint
  • Water self-sufficiency
  • Water use efficiency

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