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Utrecht University (2020)

Optimizing irrigation water management during periods of drought in the Magdalena-Cauca macro-basin, Colombia

Prins, B.A.

Titre : Optimizing irrigation water management during periods of drought in the Magdalena-Cauca macro-basin, Colombia

Auteur : Prins, B.A.

Université de soutenance : Utrecht University

Grade : Master of Science (MS) 2020

Résumé partiel _ Droughts affect more people than any other climatic hazard worldwide. The occurrence of droughts has a direct impact on domestic water supply, affecting food security and public health. Moreover, droughts will alter economic sectors dependent on water, such as irrigation and hydroelectric production. The impact of droughts can increase by the unsuitable use of water and other natural resources. In this report, the effect of droughts is studied by looking to the vulnerability of crop production in dry periods for two irrigation districts. The droughts are studied on a global scale with the Multivariate ENSO Index and a local scale with the 6-month SPEI drought index. The Saldaña and Coello irrigation districts are located in the Magdalena-Cauca macro-basin, central Colombia. In these two irrigation districts, the production of rice was studied during periods of drought, hereby considering the water availability and reducing the amount of irrigation water to obtain an optimized irrigation schedule during periods of drought. The El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the main local droughts of the Saldaña and Coello irrigation districts, classified by the 6-month SPEI drought index, have a high correlation for most of the droughts. The El Niño events of 1991-1992, 1997-1998 and 2015-2016 all correlate to droughts in both irrigation districts, the El Niño event of 1982-1983 has a correlation to drought in the Coello district, while the El Niño that occurred in 1987-1988 did not cause any drought in both districts. With the onset of an ENSO event, the water managers could prepare with changing the irrigation schedule, considering the ENSO event will also result in droughts in the Coello and Saldaña irrigation districts. The AquaCrop model of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations was used to analyze the production of rice and the required water used for each growing cycle during each period of drought of the past 40 years. Hereby the climatic data of local stations, the soil properties for the total areas that are suited for the irrigation of rice, and as precise as possible the local irrigation practices as obtained during fieldwork were used. The irrigation schedules consist of the irrigation schedules as they are practiced in the two districts during normal conditions and periods of drought. Furthermore, other irrigation schedules were created to obtain the same results, although with reduced water supply for the growing cycle. Through the runs of the various irrigation schedules, the total water use for each growing cycle was calculated. The irrigation water amounts of maize and sorghum, the other main crops in the two districts, were determined with the AquaCrop model with optimal irrigation water


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