Climate Change and Irrigation Demand: Uncertainty and Adaptation
AbstractStudy region The Kalamazoo River Watershed, southwest Michigan, USA. Study focus Climate change is projected to have significant impacts on agricultural production. Therefore, understanding the regional impacts of climate change on irrigation demand for crop production is important for watershed managers and agricultural producers to understand for effective water resources management. In this study, the Soil and Water Assessment Tool was used to assess the impact of climate change on corn and soybean irrigation demand in the Kalamazoo River Watershed. Bias-corrected statistically downscaled climate change data from ten global climate models and four emissions scenarios were used in SWAT to develop projections of irrigation demand and yields for 2020–2039 and 2060–2079. Six adaptation scenarios were developed to shift the planting dates (planting earlier and later in the growing season) to take advantage of periods with greater rainfall or lower temperature increases. New hydrological insights for the region Uncertainty in irrigation demand was found to increase moving from 2020–2039 to 2060–2079, with demand generally decreasing moving further into the future for corn and soybean. A shift in timing of peak irrigation demand and increases in temperature lead to corn yield reductions. However, soybean yield increased under these conditions. Finally, the adaptation strategy of planting earlier increased irrigation demand and water available for transpiration, while delaying planting resulted in demand decreases for both crops.