Water plays a critical role in sustaining agricultural production, energy generation, economic development, and ecosystem services worldwide. However, in an era of increasing water scarcity and climate change, new integrative approaches to water management and policy are required to successfully balance competing societal goals of environmental conservation, food, energy and water security. This session will provide a forum for novel and emerging research in the field of water-food-energy-environment systems that highlights: (i) improved understanding about the critical interconnections, feedbacks, and risks between system components, (ii) develops new methods or tools for evaluating and monitoring system trade-offs and performance , and (iii) evaluates integrated technical, policy, and/or governance nexus solutions to address critical water-food-energy-environment system challenges in different locations and at various scales (local, regional, and even global).

Invited speaker: Jennifer Burney (University of California San-Diego)

Convener: Timothy FosterECSECS | Co-conveners: Floor Brouwer, Phoebe Koundouri, Hector Macian-SorribesECSECS, Dolores ReyECSECS
| Attendance Tue, 05 May, 14:00–15:45 (CEST)

Files for download

Session summary Download all presentations (114MB)

Chat time: Tuesday, 5 May 2020, 14:00–15:45

Chairperson: Tim Foster, Hector Macian-Sorribes, Floor Brouwer
D195 |
| solicited
Jennifer Burney, Halimatou Alaofè, Rosamond Naylor, and Douglas Taren

Irrigation can facilitate the expansion of agricultural production in multiple dimensions – including increasing crop yields, extending the production calendar to previously unmanageable dry periods, and facilitating production of a diverse array of higher-valued crops like fruits and vegetables. For poor smallholder farmers, this productivity boost is assumed to lead an array of benefits, including improved economic conditions and better food and nutrition security, but results from many irrigation studies in developing regions of the world have been underwhelming. Here we explore the simple and intuitive hypothesis that the benefits to farmers and their families of using irrigation depend on how increases in production are utilized, including whether crops are consumed in the home, monetized, or put to other uses. We use data from a solar irrigation project in Benin, West Africa, and show how the same irrigation technology resulted in a range of impacts on hundreds of beneficiaries. This variation is largely explained by how much individual families either consumed or sold products, and how those changes in consumption and sales then translated into a broad range of benefits. These findings have important implications for work at the food-energy-water nexus, including design and evaluation of irrigation-based projects targeted at smallholders. Importantly, they suggest that historical evaluations of irrigation impacts have likely missed important pathways, and have thus under-estimated the total benefits of irrigation to smallholders in contexts like the semi-arid tropics.

How to cite: Burney, J., Alaofè, H., Naylor, R., and Taren, D.: Smallholder Irrigation and Pathways to Food Security, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-8529, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-8529, 2020.

D196 |
Bram Droppers, Iwan Supit, Michelle van Vliet, and Fulco Ludwig

By 2050 a doubling of crop production may be necessary to meet the growing worldwide food demands. Several studies have indicated the potential to increase crop production by reducing the so-called yield gap, i.e. the difference between potential crop production and actual crop production. The focus is commonly on closing the yield gap by increasing nutrient supply through fertilization and/or by increasing irrigated cropland extent. This could potentially achieve water-limited production (limited by rainfall) in rain-fed croplands and climate-limited production (limited by temperature and radiation) in irrigated croplands. For irrigated croplands this assumes sufficient water availability for irrigation. However, water availability for irrigation may be insufficient under higher nutrient supply. In addition, irrigation expansion in upstream areas might negatively affect water availability in downstream areas.

We aim to quantitatively assess the worldwide water constrains to close yield gaps, accounting for various nutrient inputs. To assess water constrains we integrated a macro-scale hydrological model, the Variable Infiltration Capacity model (VIC-5 including human impacts; Droppers et al. in review), with a crop production model, the World Food Studies (WOFOST; de Wit et al. 2019) model. The VIC and WOFOST models were coupled for two-way interactions. The VIC model simulates the water and energy balance, including runoff, evapotranspiration, discharge and water stress for crop growth. Water stress is used in the WOFOST model to limit and adapt crop growth, e.g. limited biomass production and adjusted relative root production. Simulated crop characteristics (height, leaf area index, CO2 effects) are subsequently returned to VIC. By coupling these models we are able to assess the feedbacks between crop production and water availability globally.


Droppers, B., Franssen, W. H. P., van Vliet, M. T. H., Nijssen, B., and Ludwig, F.: Simulating human impacts on global water resources using VIC-5. Geosci. Model Dev. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2019-251, in review, 2019.

de Wit, A., Boogaard, H., Fumagalli, D., Janssen, S., Knapen, R., van Kraalingen, D., ... & van Diepen, K. (2019): 25 years of the WOFOST cropping systems model. Agricultural Systems, 168, 154-167, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2018.06.018.

How to cite: Droppers, B., Supit, I., van Vliet, M., and Ludwig, F.: Worldwide water constrains on closing yield gaps, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-7500, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-7500, 2020.

D197 |
Joreen Merks, Seleshi Yalew, and Fulco Ludwig

Understanding the global interactions between water, energy and food production under climate change is crucial to identify arising synergies and conflicts between these sectors. Existing literature mainly focuses on the water-energy-food (WEF) nexus at a case study level as well as at policy and decision making level. Global quantitative assessments of the WEF nexus are still limited. Quantifying the nexus is challenging because it requires a framework which includes knowledge from three different fields. This becomes even more complex if we want to incorporate future climate projections and look at a global scale.

Two approaches can be followed to quantify the WEF nexus. One is to use an integrated assessment model, a model that includes modules for water, energy and food. Another approach is to use separate cutting edge models from each field and bring these different model outputs together. The Inter Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISIMIP) gives us the opportunity to apply this second approach. In ISIMIP, many model groups provide impact model data for a variety of sectors with the same climate forcing and climate scenarios on a global scale. This means we can not only use data from the water, energy and food sectors, but we can also use multiple models per sector. This approach allows us to use unique insights from the sectoral inter-comparison studies and see their implications for the WEF nexus.  

This study aims to identify WEF nexus ‘hot spots’ and how they might change in the future. Here we want to focus on locations where WEF conflicts might arise as well as spots with high development potential. We do this by, first, looking at global spatially distributed demand and supply model data per sector finding areas of surplus and deficit. Second, we combine them into several maps displaying integrated WEF nexus hot spots and their progression into the future. This study is meant to create a better global understanding of the interactions between water, energy and food sectors and how they will develop over time. The resulting maps identify regions of conflict or synergy, and can be used not only as a basis for future studies assessing resource conflicts but also as an indicator of where to harness arising opportunities.

How to cite: Merks, J., Yalew, S., and Ludwig, F.: Climate change impacts on the water, energy, and food nexus: a global quantitative assessment, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-5724, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-5724, 2020.

D198 |
Lotte de Vos, Hester Biemans, Jonathan Doelman, and Elke Stehfest

Freshwater is a shared resource needed both for food and energy production, and to sustain  ecosystems worldwide. Freshwater ecosystems are already experiencing biodiversity declines that are higher than in most terrestrial systems. With climate change and an expected increase in global population and income, the trade-offs between societal demand and nature become even more stringent. Insight in how these developments might impact future water use helps to identify strategies to ensure a healthy environment while still meeting global water demands. 

This study evaluates competition for water within the food-water-energy nexus, while explicitly accounting for the amount of water required by nature. It does so by implementation of Environmental Flow Requirements (EFRs), which are in this case defined as the quantity and timing  of  water  flows  required  to  sustain  freshwater  and  estuarine ecosystems. Simulations are performed with the integrated assessment model framework IMAGE, which includes the global vegetation and hydrology model LPJmL.  This framework combines regional agro-economic, energy and climate policy modelling with land-use, dynamic vegetation and hydrological modelling. 

Different pathways of socio-economic developments (Shared Socio-economic Pathways (SSPs)) are evaluated up until the year 2100, including a climate change mitigation scenario aiming for the long-term mitigation target of 2 °C. Earlier studies for SSP-1, SSP-2 and SSP-3 have already shown that while global water withdrawals are expected to increase for all cases, the demands for SSP-3 are generally higher than the demands for SSP-1. This study adds to this by showing how water demands affect environmental flows, or vice versa. The results present an overview of hotspots where future water demand for food, energy and nature might still compete, and where the effects are ameliorated if the world will develop towards a more sustainable path. Additionally, the results present how irrigation efficiency improvements and climate change mitigation measures can help alleviate the pressure in the food-water-energy nexus, although the latter depends on the choice of mitigation pathway. 

How to cite: de Vos, L., Biemans, H., Doelman, J., and Stehfest, E.: The water-food-energy-land nexus: Hotspots and scenario-dependency of competition for water between energy, food and nature , EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-18764, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-18764, 2020.

D199 |
Erica Ferraz de Campos, Pieter van Oel, and Enio Bueno Pereira

Water, energy and food are essential resources for society. Their integrated management, based on synergies and trade-offs, is determinant to attend the demand in long-term. Petrolina and Juazeiro are cities in Brazilian semiarid where coexist: the Sobradinho hydropower (4,214 km² reservoir) and a fruit production center of 223 km², for Brazilian and international markets. Both activities depend on São Francisco River and Sobradinho reservoir. Although the water demand from Sobradinho Reservoir is intense – around 1 billion m³, hydropower generation prevailed as a priority during the dry period 2012-2017. As the National Water Agency (ANA) maintained the reservoir outflow in rates above the water stream inflow, the reservoir was led to its minimum levels. The water scarcity during these years caused conflicts as it reduced hydroelectricity generation while put in risk the fruit production. Since solar irradiation is abundant in this region, solar power plants is figuring as a renewable energy alternative for the national grid. An increasing number of solar projects in this region are being approved in national auctions of electric energy expansion. Moreover, a floating photovoltaic power plant is already being tested in the Sobradinho reservoir. Therefore, the research analyses scenarios of water management if floating solar panels had been adopted in complementarity to hydroelectricity from 1999 and 2018, when very wet and very dry periods occurred. The software Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) is used to model the scenarios. Results are represented in water, energy and food safety indicators to identify the strategies of integrated resource management to target SDGs 6, 7 and 12.

How to cite: Ferraz de Campos, E., van Oel, P., and Bueno Pereira, E.: Solar Energy and the Water, Energy and Food Nexus: Petrolina-Juazeiro Case Study, Brazil, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-19152, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-19152, 2020.

D200 |
Thomas Higginbottom, Roshan Adhikari, Ralitza Dimova, Sarah Redicker, and Timothy Foster

One of the most controversial topics within the African food-water-energy nexus is the development of dams and large-scale irrigation schemes. Colonial authorities began constructing these schemes in the early 20th century, with construction accelerating in the 1960s helped by support from the World Bank and multi-lateral institutions. However, over the following decades evidence of the environmental, financial and social costs incurred by dams began to mount, leading to a hiatus on new developments by the early 1990s. Yet this pause is now ending, and many new dams and large-scale schemes are planned for Africa and Asia. It is therefore essential that mistakes of previous eras be avoided.

In this study, we quantify how the size of irrigation schemes successfully delivered compares to the initial project proposals, and what factors contribute to any observed discrepancies.  We combined novel data on the size of proposals, obtained from planning documents, with satellite-derived cropland maps for 80 African irrigation schemes constructed between 1945 and 2008, from 23 nations. Firstly, We calculate what proportion of the initial proposal is successfully delivered. Secondly, we model these proportions against a suite of potential explanatory variables - covering hydroclimatic, socioeconomic, national, and site-specific factors- in a variable selection process.

We show that the average proportion of proposed irrigation successfully delivered is low, with a mean of 48% and a median of 18%. However, there was considerable variation in performance depending on the initial proposal size, with large schemes — that propose over 10,000 ha — proving far less efficient, delivering 10 - 20% and never reaching 100%. Smaller schemes performed slightly better, with 15 sites delivering over 80%. Hydro-climatic factors were not significant predictors of the successful delivery; contradicting narratives of drought-induced failure for many schemes.  However, national government effectiveness, as measure by the World Bank, was a significant predictor. There was no trend in the proportions of successful delivery over the study period, indicating a failure to learn from issues that arouse on previous schemes. We proposed that the underperformance of irrigation projects is driven by the following factors: 1) over optimistic proposals, which are unrealistically large in order to generate investment; 2) large schemes being overly complex, in technology and maintenance, and therefore being difficult to manage, and 3) governance capacity for developing and handling large investments being limited and hindered by inefficient bureaucracy .

Our findings highlight that major issues remain for large-scale irrigation development in Africa. If dams and large-scale irrigation schemes are to be a helpful component of future development strategies for poverty alleviation and food production, these issue require urgent attention.

How to cite: Higginbottom, T., Adhikari, R., Dimova, R., Redicker, S., and Foster, T.: Do African dams and irrigation schemes deliver the promised agricultural returns?, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-20780, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-20780, 2020.

D201 |
Alvar Escriva-Bou and Josué Medellín-Azuara

California’s San Joaquin Valley is home to more than four million people, half of the state agricultural output, and most of its critically overdrafted groundwater basins. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 (SGMA) requires to bring groundwater basins into balance by 2040. To achieve sustainability more than half million acres of farmland (~10% of current acreage in the valley) might need to be permanently retired of production.

Given the magnitude of the problem, local agencies are especially sensitive to developing plans that minimize the potential economic losses and risks of the transition to sustainable groundwater use. On the other side, groundwater depletion cause many impacts: puts at risk thousands of drinking water wells, results in significant economic impacts on infrastructure given the associated subsidence, and increases energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, among others.

However, planning for groundwater sustainability is challenging. The plans have to deal with some inherent uncertainties associated to modelling estimates of groundwater flows, hydrologic variability, and the impacts of a changing climate in the human-natural system.

To help inform stakeholders and policy-makers, we develop a support tool to improve decision-making under uncertainty that analyzes the trade-offs between groundwater operation rules, agricultural production, drinking water wells at risk, energy use, and sustainable groundwater levels. To do that we propose a framework that links a hydrologic model, a groundwater model, and an agricultural production model based on a positive mathematical programming approach, and two ancillary models that obtain wells at risk and energy use based on resulting groundwater levels. We then simulate different groundwater operation rules, and for each rule, we perform a Monte Carlo analysis with synthetic future scenarios, obtaining the performance of the simulated rules under uncertainty. We apply this framework in each of California’s San Joaquin Valley regions.

The results of the support tool show clearly the trade-offs between agricultural economic output, wells at risk and energy use. More specifically, dynamic rules that adapt groundwater use to climatic conditions and aquifer levels perform better in most of the assessed objectives than rigid rules. This support tool show great promise to better inform decision-making when multiple objectives and trade-offs are under consideration, as it is in California’s San Joaquin Valley, but also might be useful in many other regions facing groundwater depletion.

How to cite: Escriva-Bou, A. and Medellín-Azuara, J.: Robust Decision-Making for Groundwater Sustainability: Exploring Trade-Offs between Agricultural Production, Water Security, Energy Use and Sustainability, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-21504, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-21504, 2020.

D202 |
Floor Brouwer, Chrysi Laspidou, and Lydia Vamvakeridou-Lyroudia

Water, energy, food, land and climate are tightly connected, and actions on one sector impact other sectors, creating feedbacks and unanticipated consequences. SIM4NEXUS (Sustainable Integrated Management for the nexus of water-land-food-energy-climate for a resource-efficient Europe) does address all these resources and their interlinkages, and also account for the possible impact on these elements in response to climate and relevant policy changes. Twelve case studies are implemented to test them at different scales (i.e. regional, national, transboundary, European and global). Barriers to a resource efficient and low-carbon Europe are addressed, including policy inconsistencies and incoherence and knowledge gaps related to the complex interactions.

Gaming has been established as means for understanding policies, leading to acceptance, mitigating conflicts and seeking for compromise. However, to our best knowledge, never has a Serious Game been developed for the nexus, and based on such extensive list of scientifically sound models, data and methodologies. Serious Games are developed in SIM4NEXUS as an enhanced visualisation tool, assisting users in better understanding and visualising policies at different scales, towards a better scientific understanding of the Nexus of water-land-food-energy-climate.

How to cite: Brouwer, F., Laspidou, C., and Vamvakeridou-Lyroudia, L.: Serious Games to improve decision-making on the water-land-energy-food-climate nexus, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-2230, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-2230, 2020.

D203 |
Elad Salomons and Mashor Housh

The Israeli water sector is heavily relying on desalinated seawater. Currently, about 80% of the domestic drinking water is supplied from five Desalination Plants (DPs), which produce up to 600 MCM/year. Each plant has a long-term BOT agreement with the Israeli government to supply a specific amount ranging between 100-150 MCM/year within a prespecified monthly and daily limits. The price is fixed (an average of 0.7 $/CM), but deviation from the aforementioned limits incur penalties.  

The total power consumption of the DPs is estimated as 300MW at peak production. As such, the DPs are part of the largest energy consumers in the country. The Israeli Electricity Authority (IEA) utilizes several Electricity Load Shedding Programs (ELSPs) for large consumers. Specifically, in the "Voluntary" ELSPs, large consumers are requested, usually with a short notice, to shed their power consumption during energy shortage events. DPs which are enrolled in these Voluntary ELSPs are compensated for power shedding with up to 2 $/Kwh. Comparing the power shedding compensation to the desalinated water price and violation penalties, reveals obvious economic advantage for power shedding.

This imbalance in tariffs and penalties creates inefficiency in the joint management strategies of the energy and the water sectors. This inefficiency was recently manifested during the extreme heat wave (May 22-24, 2019). In many areas in the country, the temperature exceeded 40℃ and in several monitoring stations temperature records were broken and humidity dropped to 10%. Consequently, power demands increased and broke historical records. The IEA and the System Manager (SM) have utilized all available electricity production units and the possible ELSPs. On May 23rd, the IEA asked large consumers, among them some of the DPs, to shed their consumption for four hours. At the same time, water demands in the national system were also high at about 25% over the previous week in average. The national water company utilized its available production wells, its surface water supply and the available storage. Noteworthy that the extreme weather conditions contributed to over 1000 fires around the country, which increased the pressure for a reliable water supply.   

Considering the conflict between the water and energy sector above, the national water system operator turned to its regulator, the Water Authority (WA), and asked for their intervention to prevent the DPs from engaging in ELSP. Nevertheless, based on contractual and legal issues, the WA cannot force the DPs to maintain production. As such, only "informal" requests were made, in which one of the DPs rejected the ELSP offer.

At the end, there was no water or power outage, but this case study emphasizes the water-energy nexus and the need for a collaboration between the two sectors at the national level, this is especially true under extreme conditions. The current tariffs are clearly imbalanced and they cannot contribute to efficient joint management. Regulation and policy should be advised, but even though the WA and the IEA are both governmental authorities they lack an official mechanism to decide on joint management strategies.

How to cite: Salomons, E. and Housh, M.: Water Energy Nexus as Manifested in Desalination based Water Sector: the case of Israel, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-4698, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-4698, 2020.

D204 |
Thomas Kelly, Timothy Foster, and David Schultz

Feeding the planet sustainably requires a substantial increase in agricultural water productivity. Water managers and policymakers often view digital technologies and big data as key solutions for helping farmers to grow more food while reducing pressure on limited freshwater resources. Soil moisture probes, for example, could be used to improve the timing and efficiency of farmers’ irrigation management decisions. However, current adoption rates are low with most farmers, relying instead on the visual appearance of the crop or the feel of the soil to schedule irrigation decisions. These methods have potentially large uncertainties, which may lead farmers to schedule their irrigation sub-optimally. Despite the possible impact on water use and profits, little research to date has evaluated the effects of imperfect soil moisture information, and hence the value proposition to farmers and policy makers of investing in better information. 


In this study we investigate the effect of soil moisture uncertainty on irrigation water use and farm profits. We focus our analysis on a case study of irrigated maize production in Nebraska, USA. Nebraska has the second largest number of irrigated acres by state in the United States, with almost all that water being pumped up from the High Plains Aquifer (HPA). The HPA has seen large decreases in groundwater storage over recent decades, resulting in mounting pressure for more efficient irrigation practices. Using a crop-water model (AquaCrop-OS) in combination with a particle swarm optimisation algorithm, we define an optimal irrigation schedule - represented by a set of soil moisture thresholds - that maximise average profits over a 30-year historic weather period. Under this perfect-information strategy, we assess the impact on profits and water use of adding random errors to the water-flux and soil-texture inputs to the model. These random errors result in a divergence between the true water content and the farmer’s perception - potentially leading to irrigation being triggered too early or too late when compared with perfect information. 


Our results show that increasing levels of uncertainty lead to decreasing water-use efficiency and profits. However, we also find that the effect of increasing water-flux and soil-texture error is not linear, and that there is diminishing returns to further reductions in uncertainty below a standard error of 15%. In contrast, reductions in water-use efficiency and profits due to sub-optimal selection of irrigation management strategies are much larger. This implies that improving the quality of irrigation scheduling could have more impact on agricultural water productivity than solely improving the accuracy of soil-water information. Our findings highlight the need for further research to evaluate different methods of irrigation scheduling by using models and optimisation techniques to develop irrigation strategies that incorporate information uncertainty.

How to cite: Kelly, T., Foster, T., and Schultz, D.: Effect of soil moisture uncertainty on irrigation water use and farm profits, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-4897, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-4897, 2020.

D205 |
Janez Sušnik, Sara Masia, Daina Indriksone, Ingrida Bremere, Lydia Vamvakeridou-Lyroudia, and Floor Brouwer

Water-energy-food-land-climate interact in a complex system operating on many scales. Better understanding this system, and its response to change (e.g. climate change, policy change) is urgently required, yet little progress has been made on integrating real policy objectives into nexus models to assess potential nexus-wide impacts of policy decisions. Given current concerns on resource scarcity, and on the growing appreciation of how connected the sectors are, understanding how the implementation of policy objectives in one area will impact (1) other nexus sectors and (2) potential future system behaviour, is becoming vitally important. Despite this, little progress has been towards such an understanding. In this work, a fully integrated system dynamics model of the water-energy-food-land-climate nexus in Latvia is presented. The model couples all the sectors in a feedback driven modelling framework. In addition, real Latvian policies are integrated within various nexus sectors (e.g. a policy to improve crop yields or to expand agricultural lands at the expense of other land use types). Due to the integrated nature of the model, executing any policy will not only have an impact within the policy sector (e.g. water), but the nexus-wide impacts can also be determined. Results show that due to the interconnectedness, impacts range far more widely than may be anticipated. As such, synergies can be identified and harnessed, while trade-offs can be avoided. Policy can then be (re-)designed to maximise nexus-wide benefits. This work is carried out in the framework of the H2020 project SIM4NEXUS, which will deliver 10 more such models exploring the policy impacts on the nexus at different scales (sub-national to European). As such, the work starts to fill a crucial academic and applied knowledge gap: how policies designed for a single sector have impacts that ripple throughout the entire nexus. As such, guidelines for more intelligent policy design can start to be formulated, something that is lacking in current nexus research.

How to cite: Sušnik, J., Masia, S., Indriksone, D., Bremere, I., Vamvakeridou-Lyroudia, L., and Brouwer, F.: Integrated system dynamics modelling of the water-energy-food-land-climate nexus in Latvia: exploring the impact of policy measures in a nexus-wide context, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-5428, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-5428, 2020.

D206 |
Baktybek Duisebek, Maria Shahgedanova, Andrew Wade, and Ragab Ragab

South-eastern Kazakhstan is located in the foothills of the Northern Tien Shan Mountains. It has favourable conditions for growing diverse crops but many depend on irrigation. Water is provided by the melt of seasonal snow pack and glaciers.  Crop production in this region is relatively vulnerable to climate change. This study carried experimental measurement with modelling approach to assess and determine how climate change will impact major crop production in the region. The SALTMED crop model was tested for its ability to simulate soil water content (SWC), and final grain yield (Y) for rain-fed winter wheat and irrigated spring maize in 2017 and 2019 respectively. SALTMED is able to simulate SWC with a high degree of accuracy in both field. Simulating maize yield is fairly well, and if an adjustment was made for the locust effect for wheat, simulation would be better. Therefore, since SALTMED does not include the effect of pest on crop yield, a fairer test of the model would estimate the yield without the pest effect. Generally, SALTMED can be applicable in the region.

How to cite: Duisebek, B., Shahgedanova, M., Wade, A., and Ragab, R.: Testifying SALTMED model using field data in Almaty region, South-east Kazakhstan, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-7705, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-7705, 2020.

D207 |
Giacomo Piraccini, Alessandro Amaranto, Federica Bertoni, and Andrea Castelletti

Dam reoperation for controlling water-related diseases: the potential of floating solar for compensating hydropower losses.

Giacomo Piraccini1, Alessandro Amaranto1, Federica Bertoni1, Andrea Castelletti1

1Department of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy

Malaria is one of the leading causes of death in Sub-Saharan Africa, affecting around 200 million people in the region each year. In the proximity of hydropower reservoirs, the presence of large areas with stagnant water creates greater reproduction opportunities for Anopheles mosquitoes, and the number of disease cases is usually higher.  In this context, a soft mitigation strategy which is gaining much attention in recent years is controlling the water level in the lake to expose the Anopheles eggs right after laying. However, this operation strategy usually leads to both losses and fluctuation in hydropower production.

In this study, we evaluate the capability of floating solar technology to effectively compensate the loss in energy production occurring when avoiding the spread of malaria becomes an important factor in reservoir management. To do so, we implement a modelling framework where the floating solar plant size and the dam operation are jointly optimized with the objective of minimizing energy deficit, costs and malaria spread. As a demonstration, we study the Zambezi River, where the Kariba dam (shared between Zambia and Zambezi) is mainly operated for hydropower production. Here, we explore the potential tradeoffs between power generation and malaria spread by solving a joint planning (solar plant capacity)-management (dam operations) optimization problem using Evolutionary Multi-Objective Direct Policy Search (EMODPS). Numerical results show how a doubling in power generation can be obtained by covering about 1% of Kariba lake with floating solar panels. This highlights the potential of floating solar penetration in tropical climates, and the key role that the technology can play in both controlling water-related diseases and compensating hydropower production, especially in dry seasons.

How to cite: Piraccini, G., Amaranto, A., Bertoni, F., and Castelletti, A.: Dam reoperation for controlling water-related diseases: the potential of floating solar for compensating hydropower losses, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-10328, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-10328, 2020.

D208 |
David Haro-Monteagudo, Leticia Palazón, and Santiago Beguería

With a total irrigated area above 127,000 ha divided into 58 sectors, the Riegos del Alto Aragón (RAA) irrigation district is currently the largest irrigated area in Spain and in the European Union. Also, it is the largest water user within the Gallego-Cinca subsystem within the Ebro River Basin, which also supplies water to 588 livestock operations, 10 industrial polygons, and 110 populated areas. Although there are plans to increase the irrigated area by another additional 47,000 ha, the system is currently close to its resource limit and several supply restrictions took place in the last years with consequent impacts on agricultural productivity. Moreover, this expansion of the irrigated area collides with environmental objectives in the region, mostly due to water quality and nature conservancy aspects, as well as with other water uses downstream.

The forecasted effects of climate change on future water resources produced in the Pyrenees (the major source of water in the system), as well as market prices, national and international trade and agricultural policies, among other variables, are surrounded by a high level of uncertainty that difficult investment decision-making. Some of the adaptation measures initially devised for the system, e.g. construction of new large reservoirs in the Gallego and Cinca rivers, require either confronting further environmental conflicts or large energy expenses, when not both. With the end of the era of large public works, there is a need to identify new and robust strategies for climate change adaptation. One of these strategies is the construction of private on-farm reservoirs within the RAA system that started in recent years.

The present work evaluates the contribution of on-farm reservoirs to enhancing the long-term sustainability of the RAA system using a multi-model and multi-scenario approach. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) was used to simulate water provisions from the Gallego-Cinca headwater system under an ensemble of downscaled climate models. Afterward, SWAT outputs were fed into a water allocation model built with AQUATOOL to simulate the management of the system's reservoirs, including on-farm reservoirs, and the water supply to the different demands. The performance of agricultural demands and compliance with environmental flow requirements in the system was evaluated for different on-farm reservoir sizes and combined with construction and operational costs to develop sustainability/investment curves. The outcomes have the potential to better inform decision-making from farmers in RAA as well as from managers in the Ebro River Basin Agency, providing further understanding of the system's dynamics under climatic change.

How to cite: Haro-Monteagudo, D., Palazón, L., and Beguería, S.: Can on-farm irrigation reservoirs enhance long-term sustainability of large irrigated systems? The case of Riegos del Alto Aragón (Spain), EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-10397, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-10397, 2020.

D209 |
Francesco Semeria, Fritz Kleinschroth, Marta Zaniolo, Scott Sinclair, Paolo Burlando, Rodolfo Soncini-Sessa, and Andrea Castelletti

Conflicting stakeholder interests in water systems such as power generation, agriculture and local livelihoods have required the development of an integrated approach to water resources management. An important livelihood for many African rural communities is flood-recession agriculture. Especially in monsoonal climates, river adjacent sites that are inundated by seasonal flood pulses provide humid and fertile soils of high value for small-scale agriculture. Alterations to natural flood regimes due to the construction of water infrastructures (e.g. dams) threaten this practice by reducing flooding of riparian areas. Artificial flood releases from reservoirs have the potential to counter such alteration, but in order to maximize their effectiveness many aspects are yet to be studied. In particular, in a context where resources are shared among multiple stakeholders, little research has been done on how to ensure sufficient flood magnitude to protect communities from the risk of crop failure.

As part of the national hydropower development strategy, Gibe III dam is in operation on the Omo river in southern Ethiopia since 2015, and local populations practicing flood-recession agriculture in the downstream Omo valley have been exposed to reduced or absent seasonal floods. The development of a large, state-owned irrigation district along the river course further reduced water availability in the region of its delta, where flood-recession agriculture was practiced the most. For artificial floods from Gibe III dam to be effective, we developed an indicator to assess water needs for flood-recession agriculture and to include them in reservoir policy optimizations. Lack of ground data and remoteness of the area were the main challenges of this work, preventing direct data acquisition and extensive stakeholder participation. We used high-resolution satellite imagery taken annually to quantify the yearly extent of flood-recession agriculture in the region and linked it to estimated past streamflow magnitudes simulated by means of a distributed hydrological model.

We observed a strong correlation between historical extents of flood-recession agriculture fields in the study area and river streamflow, allowing to build an indicator for livelihood flood requirements that was included in the evaluation of alternative development pathways. We used the designed indicator to assess the impact of alternative management strategies with varying sectoral trade-offs, combined with multiple system configurations representing present and planned infrastructural development of the region. Preliminary results show that appropriately designed development pathways can substantially limit damages to flood-recession agriculture practices. This indicator will contribute to planning effective artificial flood releases and to capturing rural communities’ agriculture needs.

How to cite: Semeria, F., Kleinschroth, F., Zaniolo, M., Sinclair, S., Burlando, P., Soncini-Sessa, R., and Castelletti, A.: Modelling the impact of dams on flood-recession agriculture in the Omo valley: a satellite-data based analysis, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-11823, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-11823, 2020.

D210 |
Jullian Sone, Gabriela Gesualdo, Lívia Rosalem, Paulo Oliveira, and Edson Wendland

All land uses provide ecosystem services (ES), which have been depleted due to the lack of soil conservation practices along with the intensive use of land for meeting the water-energy-food nexus demand. The economic incentive is a first step towards attracting farmers’ interest in protecting and conserving ES. Farmers, stakeholders, and decision-makers need to understand the value and importance of watershed services through a straightforward cost-effective analysis of conserving and/or protecting them. Economic feasibility affects the volunteer enrolment in payment for ecosystem services (PES) programmes for adopting soil conservation practices in rural areas; nonetheless, it is still poorly understood regarding investments in ES restoration and preservation. There is very little information on the restoration of water provisioning in rural basins that participated in PES programmes. Additionally, most studies focus on programmes for one specific type of landowner, putting aside the plurality of landowners in the basin. It undermines PES programmes implementation when assessing individual preferences and willingness to pay. Thus, we aim to compare costs and benefits from incentivising soil conservation practices and forest restoration in a rural basin through a cost-benefit analysis and quantitative improvements of water provision and soil erosion control; moreover, we will use hydrological and economic-decision models to asses the uncertainties from the relationship between soil conservation practices and watershed services under climate change. The Guariroba River Basin (36,200 ha), located on the rural side of Campo Grande city ‒ Brazil, currently provides 34% of the drinking water demand in the urban area — once provided about 50% — since converting native Cerrado vegetation of the basin for cattle farming has led to a decrease in water provisioning due to soil degradation and, consequently, reservoir siltation. In 2009, the city hall launched a PES Programme called ‘Manancial Vivo’ (MVP). In this context, it is fundamental to understand how uncertainties in the input data, economic models structure, and parameters estimation are consistently integrated into hydro-economic models. By this, we will assess different hydro-economic scenarios of water availability to understand uncertainties and hydrological trade-offs. We expect to respond to some questions: whether the Brazilian PES programme model is environmentally and economically adequate; how water-food-energy insecurity nexus affects PES policies; and what role PES plays in building resilience to water supply systems and helping people to adapt to climate change effects.

How to cite: Sone, J., Gesualdo, G., Rosalem, L., Oliveira, P., and Wendland, E.: Trade-offs, synergies and economic relationships among ecosystem services, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-12524, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-12524, 2020.

D211 |
Davide Danilo Chiarelli, Alice Luciano, Francesca Fumagalli, Annalisa Silvetti, Luciano Pinotti, Daniele Bocchiola, and Maria Cristina Rulli

In developing countries, as a result of increasing per capita GDP (Tilman et al., 2011; FAOSTAT, 2017), we are observing shifts in diets towards increasing consumption of animal products (Pimentel et al., 2008). An example of shifting diet is represented by China, where during the last two decades’ demand for and consumption of animal origin has grown rapidly. Public debates and scientific literature principally focused on how these habits affect the amount of required limited resources, addressing those changes as unsustainable, but which can be the effects of a shift in animal diets? SUS-Feed is a projects founded by Fondazione Cariplo aims at evaluating the effects of substituting conventional cereals with former food products in pig’s diets, by addressing its impacts on growth performance, gut health, pig wellbeing, as well as its sustainability assessment and its implications in natural resources saving. In fact, among others, pigs represent an interesting case study, providing 36% of total meat production (113Mtons worldwide) and 51% of energy from animal products (124kcal/cap/day – global average) (FAOSTAT, 2017).

Pig diet is mainly composed by soybeans and maize, whose harvested area worldwide are rapidly exploding, accounting for 187Mha and 111Mha for maize and soybean in 2013 respectively, creating environmental problems such as water scarcity, deforestation, pollution, fires. In order to assess the potential positive feedbacks of such conversion on natural resources, focus of our presentation, a spatial distributed physically based model is applied in order to quantify water and land saving by introducing former food products and the consequent positive feedback on water scarcity, water pollution and deforestation.

How to cite: Chiarelli, D. D., Luciano, A., Fumagalli, F., Silvetti, A., Pinotti, L., Bocchiola, D., and Rulli, M. C.: SUSFEED - Sustainable feed design applying circular economy principles: the case former food in pig nutrition, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-15458, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-15458, 2020.

D212 |
Beyza Özel, Yasemin Demir, Oğuz Başkan, and Emre Alp

Water, energy and food nexus is an integrated framework suggests that the security of one resource is inevitably linked to another’s. Water availability assures healthy food production whereas agriculture is the dominant user of global freshwater. Water stress due to population growth, climate change or malpractices threatens food security. Within the scope of water for food governance, the water efficiency of agricultural irrigation has to be improved to aid sustainable water and agricultural management. The study investigates water availability and withdrawals, evaluates water resources management scenarios in the agricultural sector in the Sakarya River Basin, Turkey’s third-largest river basin. Demand-oriented management scenarios propose a variety of technical measures which include improvements in irrigation technology, shifts in the cropping pattern and water-saving irrigation strategies. The effectiveness of scenarios was evaluated using the Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) system developed for the upper sub-basin where significant agricultural activities are held with approximately 1 million ha of total effective arable land. WEAP is an integrated water resources system modeling that operates based on the principle of water balance accounting. A climate data set of precipitation, temperature, relative humidity, and wind speed were applied across each sub-basin, partitioned into land-use classes. A one dimensional, two-bucket model for each land-use class transmits water as surface runoff, interflow, percolation, baseflow and evapotranspiration components. The model was calibrated and validated for observed streamflow, reservoir volume, and irrigation water amount. The mean annual precipitation and evapotranspiration in the upper sub-basin are 387 mm/a and 245 mm/a respectively. Agriculture is the dominant user of both surface water and groundwater resources and accounts for the %88 of total water withdrawals in the upper sub-basin. Impacts of agricultural management on irrigation water supply and flow dynamics of streamflow gauges were evaluated upon each measure. When compared to a historic baseline scenario, efficient management measures can save irrigation water up to %10 by shifting crop patterns from sunflower to safflower, %6 by establishing drip irrigation instead of sprinkler, %4 by applying deficient irrigation on cereal cultivated areas. Furthermore, mean streamflow increases by %8 in June where deficient irrigation strategy is practiced on cereals, by %9 in October where cropping pattern is shifted from sunflower to safflower. After a review of various technical measures related to the efficient management of water resources, the study concluded that sustainable agricultural development is possible by adapting conservative agricultural practices that assure water and food security.

How to cite: Özel, B., Demir, Y., Başkan, O., and Alp, E.: Evaluation of effectiveness of the water management strategies with the focus on agricultural water use: A case study on Upper-Sakarya River Basin in Turkey, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-16055, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-16055, 2020.

D213 |
Nathan Forsythe, David Pritchard, and Hayley Fowler

The multinational FutureDAMS consortium -- funded by the UK's Global Challenges Research Fund -- is working to improve the design, selection and operation of dams to support sustainable development. Existing and planned large water storage infrastructure systems have the potential to make a significant contribution towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris climate change commitments. But maximising the benefits while minimising the negative social and environmental impacts of large-scale infrastructure in the river basins comprising the multifunctional cores of the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) nexus remains a challenge. One critical aspect of this challenge is the difficulty of achieving uptake of scientific guidance by policy makers and other influential stakeholders.

The climatic water balance (CWB), i.e. precipitation minus potential evapotranspiration, provides a methodological framework for understanding moisture supply-demand equilibrium at a range of spatial scales including those relevant to land management – administrative districts and tributary watersheds – within basins. The CWB framework understood as an accounting analogy – i.e. rainfall as income, evapotranspiration as expenditure – can be comprehensible to scientific lay persons and help to understand the climate pressures which constrain WEF resource management. Viewed through a CWB framework, rural lands are critical both as determinants of rainfall partitioning between runoff and infiltration as well as areas of consumptive water usage for food production. Runoff entering engineered river systems becomes available for satisfying water supply and (hydropower) energy demands. As a transboundary river basin in a region experiencing substantial demographic growth and with strong aspirations for rapid economic development, inter-sectoral tensions are likely as Volta basin decision makers and economic actors seek to satisfy elements of the W-E-F nexus. By quantifying spatiotemporal moisture supply-demand balance conditions the CWB can provide valuable information to quantify trade-offs and potential synergies resulting from land management practices, infrastructure development and water allocation policies.

In this work we will examine point/site-based values and spatial aggregates of CWB for a range of locations and scales within the larger Volta basin. For each case we will identify key WEF issues which are influenced by the CWB as well as stakeholders whose decision-making processes could be informed by insights derived from the CWB (accounting) framework.

How to cite: Forsythe, N., Pritchard, D., and Fowler, H.: Applying the climatic water balance to the Volta basin as an accounting framework to aid policy makers in understanding climate pressures on the water-energy-food (W-E-F) nexus, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-19371, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-19371, 2020.

D214 |
Richard Rushforth and Benjamin Ruddell

The FEWSION Project is an environmental data science project to build the first complete, empirical data-driven description of the U.S. food, energy, and water system (the FEW Nexus). The goal of the FEWSION Project is to produce FEW nexus data for researchers, decision-makers, and the public and to make this data accessible so that anyone in the U.S. can view the journey of their food, energy, and water. The FEWSION Project utilizes data fusion – the curated combination of multiple disparate datasets to create novel, synthetic datasets. There are numerous challenges to integrating food, energy, and water (FEW) system data. Chief among these challenges are data quality, availability, comprehensiveness, and accuracy. The first half of this presentation will discuss the FEWSION Project, the process of creating the FEWSION Database v. 1.0, and how we have made these data accessible. In the second half of this talk, there will be a demonstration of the FEW-View™ visualization system. FEW-View™ is an online educational tool built to visualize FEWSION Project data that is free and open to the public. Using FEW-View™, any U.S. resident and community leader can visualize their food, energy, and water supply chains.

How to cite: Rushforth, R. and Ruddell, B.: Mapping the U.S. Food-Energy-Water Nexus at the Mesocale: the FEW-View Visualization System, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-20383, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-20383, 2020.

D215 |
Yuhan Yan, Rui Zhang, Yifan Zhou, and Tingju Zhu

The Yangtze River Delta (YRD) is a major economic engine of China. Despite its bountiful natural resources, high population density, urbanization and rapid economic growth have led to increasingly high demand for water, energy and food, thus raising the region’s level of exposure to the risks of water, energy, or food insecurity. To analyze the current situation and identify challenges to resource sustainability, we build an input-output (IO) model for the YRD and link it to existing sector models of water, energy and food. The IO model explicitly represents interdependencies of the sectors including but not limited to water, energy and food, whereas the process-driven sector models provide additional details of spatiotemporal dynamics within each sector. A set of metrics were also designed to quantify the level of sustainability of the water, energy and food sectors in the YRD.

How to cite: Yan, Y., Zhang, R., Zhou, Y., and Zhu, T.: Integrated Modeling of Water-Energy-Food Nexus in the Yangtze River Delta: Status Quo and Sustainability Challenges, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-21226, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-21226, 2020.

D216 |
Lingqiao Kong

The complex trade-offs of ecosystem services make ecosystem management difficult to achieve win-win goals, especially in a watershed with intensive agriculture. Although a lot of research has been carried out on the types, characteristics and harmonized measures of ecosystem service trade-offs, how to achieve synergistic gain through effective land use management still lacks quantitative Optimization. Combined with models of land use optimization and spatially assessment of ecosystem services, the study build a multi-objective function and a land use optimization method to realize maximization of the total benefit based on the characteristics of ecosystem service trade-off and the driving factors in the Dongting Lake watershed, which is one of the priority areas for ecological protection in China and is also agricultural intensive. First we quantitatively model the water purification service, sediment reduction service and agricultural production using field observation and spatial models of ecosystem services, then the integrated response characteristics of multi-objectives are analyzed according to different land use scenarios based on driven mechanism of ecosystem service trade-offs. Finally the way of optimizing land use allocation and synergetic development of multiple ecosystem services in the watershed is proposed to provide quantitative means for regional land use optimization.

How to cite: Kong, L.: Multi-objective optimization of ecosystem services in an agricultural intensive watershed, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-21515, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-21515, 2020.