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The objective of the project is to increase productivity in agriculture by raising water-use efficiency on the basis of the following questions:

 

How can the water demand for food production be balanced according to the standard of the Life Cycle Assessment?

What measures raise water use efficiency substantially within plant production?

What measures raise water use efficiency substantially in livestock farming?

How high is the water demand of entire chains of production in agricultural food production?

To what extent will water demand for food production increase due to growing global population, climbing incomes, rising urbanization and the associated increase in shares of food production of animal provenance and other water-intensive food products?

What agricultural measures to increase water use efficiency are the most suitable for counteracting increasing exploitation of water resources for food production?

The national and international literature provides different interpretation and use of the term “water use efficiency”. Various sustainability-related scientific disciplines use the term interchangeably or reciprocally as "water productivity".
E.g.:

  • Water use efficiency: The water use efficiency reflects the relationship between water demand and the construction of a plant dry matter.
    crop yield (biomass) / evapotranspiration [kg / m³], e.g. HATFIELD et al. (2001)
    1)

  • Water productivity: The water productivity reflects the relationship between water demand and the construction of a plant dry matter.
    crop yield (biomass) / evapotranspiration, [kg / m
    3] e.g. PASSIOURA (2006)2)

According to our engineering dominated understanding the water use efficiency is the utilization rate of a certain degree of water use. A theoretical optimum of 100 percent would be achieved in the field of irrigation, if the whole irrigation water was used for the construction of the plant dry matter.
The project AgroHyd focuses on the relation of achieved production gain and used water. The AgroHyd team use for a definite understanding of the discussion about the efficient use of water the terms "Water productivity" and "water use intensity":

  • Water use intensity: The water use intensity reflects the relationship between water demand and the agricultural product. The reference to the product unit expresses the efficiency of water use.
    water use intensity = water demand / product; e.g. (m³ water kg-1 milk)

  • Water productivity: The water productivity contains the reciprocal of the water use intensity.
    water productivity = product / water demand; e.g.(kg milk m-3 water)

1) HATFIELD, JERRY L., THOMAS J. SAUER and JOHN H. PRUEGER (2001): Managing Soils to Achieve Greater Water Use Efficiency: A Review. Agronomy Journal, Vol. 93, March-April 2001

2) PASSIOURA, JOHN (2006): Increasing crop productivity when water is scarce—from breeding to field management. Agricultural Water Management 80, 176–196

   

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Leibniz-Institut für Agrartechnik Potsdam-Bornim
2010