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    Assessing the groundwater dynamics and impacts of water saving in the Hetao Irrigation District, Yellow River basin

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    Abstract
    Water resources allocated to the agricultural sector in the Yellow River basin are being reduced due to severe water scarcity and increased demand by the non-agricultural sectors. In large-scale irrigation districts, the application of water-saving practices, e.g., improving the canal system, using water-saving irrigation technology and adjusting cropping patterns, is required for the sustainable agricultural development and the river basin environmental equilibrium. Adopting water-saving practices leads to lowering the groundwater table and to controlling salinity impacts related to excessive irrigation. However, assessing the effects of water-saving practices on the groundwater system requires further investigation. The Jiefangzha Irrigation Scheme of the Hetao Irrigation District is used as a case study for analyzing the temporal and spatial dynamics of the groundwater table. A lumped parameter groundwater balance model has been developed with this purpose and to assess impacts of various water-saving practices. The model was calibrated with monthly datasets relative to the non-frozen periods of 1997–1999 and validated with datasets from 2000 to 2002. Results indicate that canal seepage and deep percolation account for respectively 48% and 44% of the annual groundwater recharge. Groundwater discharge by direct evaporation and plant roots uptake represents 82% of the total annual groundwater discharge. After validation, the model was applied to assess the impacts of various canal and farm irrigation water-saving practices. It was observed that improvements in the canal system (e.g., canal lining, upgrading the hydraulic regulation and control structures, improving delivery schedules) might lower the groundwater table by 0.28–0.48 m, depending upon the level of implementation of these measures. Higher declines of the groundwater table are predicted when water-saving technologies are applied at both the canal and the farm systems. That decline of the water table favours salinity control and reduces capillary rise, thus reducing the groundwater evaporation and uptake by plant roots; that reduction may attain 128 mm. However, predictions may change depending on the way how water-saving measures are applied, which may be different of assumptions made; therefore, there is the need to perform a follow-up of the interventions in order to update predictions. Results indicate the need for appropriate research leading to improved irrigation management when the decline of the groundwater level will reduce groundwater contribution to vegetation growth.
    Article Outline
    1. Introduction
    2. Materials and methods
    2.1. The study area
    2.2. Groundwater data
    2.3. Groundwater balance modeling
    2.4. Calibration and validation procedures
    2.5. Scenarios for predicting impacts of water saving
    3. Results and discussion
    3.1. Observed dynamics of the groundwater level
    3.2. Calibration and validation of the groundwater balance model
    3.3. Groundwater mass balance and components
    3.4. Predicted impacts of water-saving practices
    4. Conclusions
    Acknowledgements
    References
     

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    作者:Xu, Xu, Huang, Guanhua, Qu, Zhongyi, Pereira, Luis S. 来源:Elsevier 发布时间:2011年07月13日