Uitdaging

Voldoen aan de voedsel- en vezelbehoeften van een groeiende wereldbevolking is een aanzienlijke uitdaging. Tot op heden is de geïrrigeerde landbouw verantwoordelijk voor 40% van de totale voedsel- en vezelproductie, terwijl het slechts 18% van het bouwland ter wereld gebruikt (Schultz et al., 2009). Irrigatie is echter goed voor bijna 70% van ’s werelds totale zoetwateronttrekkingen (FAO, 2013) en heeft de hydrologische en omgevingscondities in zowel oppervlakte- als ondergrondse watervoorraden aanzienlijk veranderd (Döll et al., 2009; Kirby et al., 2014 ; Restrepo en Kettner, 2012; Zeng en Cai, 2014). Dit heeft tot kritiek en discussie geleid over de (on)duurzaamheid van geïrrigeerde landbouw. Irrigatiemanagers moeten vaak het gebruik, de efficiëntie en de productiviteit van water tegenover ander gebruikers rechtvaardigen. De uitdaging is om beslissingen over de toewijzing van water te verbeteren om de negatieve milieueffecten te verminderen en tegelijkertijd te blijven voldoen aan de vraag naar voedsel en vezels. Onderzoek en investeringen zijn gericht op het toepassen van kosteneffectieve technologie, precisielandbouw en milieuvriendelijke technieken om duurzaam watergebruik in de landbouw na te streven (Baumüller, 2018; Chuchra, 2016; Far en Rezaei-Moghaddam, 2018; King, 2017; Nikouei et al., 2012; Pareeth et al., 2019). Een dergelijke trend wordt ondersteund door verschillende doelen in de “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, met name het doel voor duurzame ontwikkeling (SDG) 6: zorgen voor beschikbaarheid en duurzaam waterbeheer; SDG 2: Beëindig honger, bereik voedselzekerheid, verbeter voeding en bevorder duurzame landbouw en SDG 13: Onderneem actie om klimaatverandering en de gevolgen ervan te bestrijden. De grote uitdaging is om de lokale geïrrigeerde landbouw te verbeteren om de SDG-doelen te bereiken. Het juiste evenwicht tussen het verhogen van de landbouwproductie en het verminderen van de milieueffecten moet worden gevonden om onze watervoorraden te behouden en te voldoen aan de groeiende vraag naar voedsel en vezels.

De agrarische sector streeft ernaar om te voldoen aan de groeiende voedselbehoefte en tegelijkertijd het bijbehorende waterverbruik te verminderen, wat essentieel is voor regio’s die te maken hebben met (ernstige) waterschaarste. Zowel voedselproductie als water zijn geïntegreerd in de indicator ‘waterproductiviteit’, ook wel ‘watergebruiksefficiëntie’ genoemd. Deze term geeft informatie over de hoeveelheid landbouwproductie die is bereikt met het water dat is verbruikt door verdamping. Waterproductiviteit wordt gebruikt als prestatie-indicator voor verschillende doeleinden, waaronder (onder meer): het kwantificeren van verbeterd waterbruik door duurzaam beheer; het identificeren van locaties met een hoge waterproductiviteit; en het bepalen van meer opbrengst door te kijken naar het gewasopbrengst tekort. De uitdaging voor dit snel groeiende veld is 1) het ontwikkelen van hoogwaardige ruimtelijke data over de waterproductiviteit en 2) het vertalen van deze informatie naar praktische toepassingen ter ondersteuning van de agrarische sector bij hun besluitvorming.

FutureWater-aanpak

FutureWater heeft tot doel om onderzoek en advies aan te kunnen bieden om het waterbeheer over de hele wereld te helpen verduurzamen. Dit doen we door de toepassing van nieuwe hulpmiddelen en technologie. Met name bij irrigatieprojecten integreren we hydro-meteorologische datasets van grondstations en satellietdata, en simulaties van hydrologische en gewasmodellen om de kennis over (lokale) waterbeschikbaarheid en de vraag naar meer geïrrigeerde landbouwegebieden op elkaar aan te laten sluiten. Aanvullende hydro-meteorologische gegevenssets van satellieten en drones worden ook gebruikt om beslissingen over de toewijzing van water te ondersteunen en tijdige beoordelingen van de watervoorraden te leveren op regionale, maar ook op perceelsniveau. Dit maakt het mogelijjk om advies te geven over irrigatieschema’s, geschiktheid van gewassen en planning van irrigatiegebieden op basis van impactscenario’s die rekening houden met klimaatvariabiliteit en klimaatverandering. Dankzij het gebruik van state-of-the-art GIS-systemen en modellen kunnen we ruimtelijk verspreide informatie verkrijgen voor verschillende adviesniveaus (bijv. perceelsniveau, irrigatiedistrict of stroomgebiedsniveau). Deze tools helpen FutureWater om succesvol irrigatieadvies in vele delen van de wereld te kunnen geven, wat bijdraagt ​​aan het bereiken van de SDG-doelen.

De aanpak die FutureWater hanteert voor het berekenen van de waterproductiviteit is gebaseerd op integratie van satellietdata en gewasmodellering. Remote sensing-beelden geven ruimtelijke waarnemingen van het oppervlak, verkregen via satellietplatforms of drones (UAV’s). Het type beeld wordt geselecteerd afhankelijk van de vereiste ruimtelijke resolutie en temporele frequentie van waarnemingen (tijdsintervallen). Vervolgens worden de beelden gecombineerd met veldwaarnemingen en gewasmodellen om een ​​berekening te maken van de gewasopbrengst, de waterbalans en uiteindelijk de waterproductiviteit. Naast deze aanpak worden analyses uitgevoerd met behulp van open access databases die ruimtelijke informatie bieden over waterproductiviteit, waterverbruik of classificatie van landgebruik. Uiteindelijk worden resultaten gepresenteerd voor praktisch gebruik, zoals in perceel- of stroomgebiedskaarten die de ruimtelijke variatie aangeven, grafieken en andere illustraties voor het volgen van trends, of met behulp van (smartphone / tablet) apps om het werk van boeren te ondersteunen. Waterproductiviteit als monitoringinstrument en adviesdienst kan op verschillende ruimtelijke schalen en voor verschillende stakeholders worden toegepast: verdeling over de landbouwgebieden in een stroomgebied, SDG (6.4) monitoring op landschaal, irrigatiedistricten, commerciële en kleinschalige boeren.

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