• Non-ICIMOD publication
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How Water Saving Irrigation Contributes to Climate Change Resilience—a Case Study of Practices in China

  • Zou, X.
  • Li, Y.-E.
  • Gao, Q.
  • Wan, Y.
A warming climate system is now an indisputable fact. An effective response to climate change should include both mitigation and adaptation. Water is essential to human survival and social development. But the shortage of water resources is a worldwide problem, which in China has been exacerbated by climate change. In order to find out how to cope with climate change successfully, this study, on the basis of China statistical data 2007–2009, quantitatively analyzes the role of water saving irrigation (WSI) in addressing climate change. The study shows that water saving irrigation (WSI) can serve as a useful enabler in dealing with climate change. From the perspective of mitigation, the 3-year total CO2 emission reduction stands at 34.67 (21.83 ~ 47.48) Mt, about per year 11.56(7.28 ~ 15.83)Mt. From the perspective of adaptation, the total water saved from 2007 to 2009 stands at 96.85 (61.81 ~ 129.66) Gm3. If per unit farmland irrigation takes a 3-year average of agricultural water consumption, the water saved in 2009 is enough to irrigate additional 5.70 (3.80 ~ 7.80) Mhm2, or to increase the grain yield by 22.04 (14.68 ~ 30.15) Gt. In addition, WSI can reduce soil salinization and conserve soil to sustain land productivity and environmental benefits. So WSI can be a positive measure in coping with climate change when it is rightly deployed. However, the costs and local context of such practices call for further studies.
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