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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-331
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 29 Jun 2018

Research article | 29 Jun 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Can global precipitation datasets benefit the estimation of the area to be cropped in irrigated agriculture?

Alexander Kaune1,2, Micha Werner1,3, Patricia López López3,4, Erasmo Rodríguez5, Poolad Karimi1, and Charlotte de Fraiture1,2 Alexander Kaune et al.
  • 1Water Science and Engineering Department, IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, Delft, the Netherlands
  • 2Wageningen Institute for Environment and Climate Research, Wageningen University & Research, the Netherlands
  • 3Division of Inland Water Systems, Deltares, Delft, the Netherlands
  • 4Division Department of Physical Geography, Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • 5Grupo de Investigación en Ingeniería de Recursos Hídricos (GIREH), Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia

Abstract. The area to be cropped in irrigation districts needs to be planned according to the available water resources to avoid agricultural production loss. However, the period of record of local hydro-meteorological data may be short, leading to an incomplete understanding of climate variability and consequent uncertainty in estimating surface water availability for irrigation area planning. In this study we assess the benefit of using global precipitation datasets to improve surface water availability estimates. A reference area that can be irrigated is established using a complete record of thirty years of observed river discharge data. Areas are then determined using simulated river discharges from six local hydrological models forced with in-situ and global precipitation datasets (CHIRPS and MSWEP), each calibrated independently with a sample of five years extracted from the full thirty year record. The utility of establishing the irrigated area based on simulated river discharge simulations is compared against the reference area through a pooled Relative Utility Value. Results show that for all river discharge simulations the benefit of choosing the irrigated area based on the thirty years simulated data is higher compared to using only five years observed discharge data, as the statistical spread of PRUV using thirty years is smaller. Hence, it is more beneficial to calibrate a hydrological model using five years of observed river discharge and then extending it with global precipitation data of thirty years as this weighs up against the model uncertainty of the model calibration.

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