Impacts of water saving on groundwater balance in a large-scale arid irrigation district, Northwest China

Weifeng Yue, Xianze Liu, Tiejun Wang, Xunhong Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Water saving practices are essential for sustainable use of water resources in semiarid regions. To understand the impacts of different water saving measures on groundwater resources, the Hetao Irrigation District in Northwest China was chosen in this study. Based on the data from 1991 to 2010, a groundwater balance model was calibrated and validated. The simulation results showed that irrigation-induced infiltration (92 % of the total groundwater recharge) and groundwater evaporation (92 % of the total groundwater discharge) were the primary factors controlling groundwater table fluctuations during irrigation seasons. The impacts of different water saving scenarios on groundwater balance components were then evaluated. The results revealed that the conjunctive use of water resources was the most effective way to improve water use efficiency (reducing surface water diversions by 52 %) and the depth to groundwater table increased by up to 79 cm. However, deeper groundwater tables may have a negative effect on crop growth due to reduced upward fluxes of groundwater into root zones. Therefore, future studies are needed to evaluate the impacts of different water saving measures on both water resources and crop yields. The results of this study provide further insights into effectively managing water resources in water-limited agricultural areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-312
Number of pages16
JournalIrrigation Science
Volume34
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science

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