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The challenge of sustainable water resources management under water scarcity

Code: 9781838796440
Pasquale Steduto, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Italy; and Chris Perry, Former Research Director, International Water Management Institute (IWMI), UK

Chapter synopsis: Historically, water control developments were mostly small-scale, locally managed and hydrologically independent, with annual rainfall, runoff and recharge setting the limits to annual use. In recent decades, the vast expansion of irrigation (the largest water user with about 70% withdrawal worldwide) has resulted in dramatic increases in water consumption. The escalation of water scarcity, further impacted by climate change, is posing huge challenges for sustainable water resources management. A solution, which has prominently influenced the agenda of planners, policy makers and financial institutions, for improvement of irrigation technology is replacement of traditional ‘inefficient’ techniques with ‘modern’ irrigation systems, assuming that significant amounts of water can be saved and released for other uses. This chapter reports case studies which demonstrate that, most of the time, water consumption increased with ‘modernization’ of irrigation. We argue that restoring a balance between sustainable supply and consumption of water first requires physical control of water allocation and consumption.

DOI: 10.19103/AS.2017.0037.24
Table of contents 1 Introduction 2 Sustainable and unsustainable water resources management 3 Water accounting as a prerequisite for sustainable water resources management 4 Modern irrigation and water sustainability: case studies from Australia, California and Spain 5 Modern irrigation and water sustainability: case studies from China, India and Pakistan 6 Modern irrigation and water sustainability: case studies from the Middle East 7 Modern irrigation and water sustainability: case studies from Africa 8 Conclusion 9 References

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