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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 12 Aug 2019

Submitted as: research article | 12 Aug 2019

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

A novel regional irrigation water productivity model for complex cropping patterns in arid regions coupling soil water and salinity dynamics, irrigation and drainage, and shallow groundwater movement

Jingyuan Xue1, Zailin Huo1, Ian White2, Isaya Kisekka3, Zhuping Sheng4, Shuai Wang1, Chaozi Wang1, Guanhua Huang1, and Xu Xu1 Jingyuan Xue et al.
  • 1College of Water Resource and Civil Engineering, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100083, China
  • 2Fenner School of Environment & Society, Australian National University, Fenner Building 141 Canberra ACT 0200
  • 3Univerisity of California Davis, Department of Land, Air and Water Resources and Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering
  • 4Texas A&M University, Agriculture Research and Extension Center, El Paso, USA

Abstract. The temporal and spatial distribution of regional irrigation water productivity (RIWP) is crucial for making agricultural related decisions, especially in arid irrigated areas with complex cropping patterns. Thus, we developed a new RIWP model for an irrigated agricultural area with complex cropping patterns. The model couples the irrigation and drainage driven soil water and salinity dynamics and shallow groundwater movement, to quantify the temporal and spatial distributions of the target hydrological and biophysical variables. We divided the study area into 1 km×1 km hydrological response units (HRUs). In each HRU, we considered four land-use types: sunflower fields, wheat fields, maize fields and uncultivated lands. And we coupled the regional soil hydrological processes and groundwater flow by taking a weighted average of the water exchange between unsaturated soil and groundwater under different land-use types. The RIWP model was calibrated and validated using eight years of hydrological variables obtained from regional observation sites in a typical arid irrigation area of North China, Hetao Irrigation District. The model reasonably well simulated soil moisture and salinity, groundwater table depths, salinity, and discharge, and regional evapotranspiration. Sensitivity analysis indicates that soil evaporation coefficient and specific yield are the key parameters for RIWP simulation. The results showed that, from 2006 to 2013, RIWP decreased from maize to sunflower to wheat. It was found that the maximum RIWP can be reached when groundwater table depth is in the range of 2 m to 4 m, regardless of irrigation water depths. This implies the importance of groundwater table control on RIWP. Overall, our distributed RIWP model can effectively simulate the temporal and spatial distribution of RIWP and provide critical water allocation suggestions for decision makers.

Jingyuan Xue et al.
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Jingyuan Xue et al.
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