Farmers help grow water plan

August 17, 2020

Overallocation of surface water for growing food crops is shifting agriculture and other industry to use groundwater - which is much more difficult to measure and monitor.

Using local producer knowledge as 'soft data' to estimate groundwater use in modelling is a helpful tool in mapping sustainable use of scarce resources, Flinders University experts say.

Environmental and water researchers from Flinders have described the technique in a new paper published online in the Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies.

The heavily agricultural La Vi River Basin in Vietnam was the focus of the study, forming part of a five-year project funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).

"Groundwater use for food and industrial production is increasing globally, putting pressure on groundwater resources and associated ecosystems," says Flinders University Professor Okke Batelaan.

"In many countries, particularly in developing regions as well as Australia's Murray-Darling Basin (MDB), this abstraction may be poorly organised and not regularly gauged for data."

The researchers, including John Allwright fellow Flinders PhD candidate Manh Hai Vu, interviewed local farmers about their land use, agricultural practices and water use.

The approach was very helpful in collecting base line information for future use - particularly when climate change or variable rainfall pose a threat to future water management, says Dr Margaret Shanafield, from the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training based at Flinders University.

"Although often thought of as a wet, tropical climate, Vietnam's South central coast has long dry seasons, and hence suffers from surface water shortages, similar to many parts of Australia," she says. "Groundwater use provides a significant solution to local farmers for producing cash crops and improving livelihood."

The system could also be used in Australia in areas such as the northern part of the MDB where groundwater is largely unmonitored.

The study developed a cost-effective and computationally simple solutions for estimating groundwater abstraction in data-poor agricultural regions, researchers say.
-end-
Mapping catchment-scale unmonitored groundwater abstractions: Approaches based on soft data (2020) by Vu MH Vu, M Shanafield, TT Nhat, D Partington, O Batelaan has been published in the Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies DOI: 10.1016/j.ejrh.2020.100695

Flinders University

Related Climate Change Articles from Brightsurf:

Are climate scientists being too cautious when linking extreme weather to climate change?
Climate science has focused on avoiding false alarms when linking extreme events to climate change.

Mysterious climate change
New research findings underline the crucial role that sea ice throughout the Southern Ocean played for atmospheric CO2 in times of rapid climate change in the past.

Mapping the path of climate change
Predicting a major transition, such as climate change, is extremely difficult, but the probabilistic framework developed by the authors is the first step in identifying the path between a shift in two environmental states.

Small change for climate change: Time to increase research funding to save the world
A new study shows that there is a huge disproportion in the level of funding for social science research into the greatest challenge in combating global warming -- how to get individuals and societies to overcome ingrained human habits to make the changes necessary to mitigate climate change.

Sub-national 'climate clubs' could offer key to combating climate change
'Climate clubs' offering membership for sub-national states, in addition to just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally harmonized climate change policy, which in turn offers a way to achieve stronger climate policies in all countries.

Review of Chinese atmospheric science research over the past 70 years: Climate and climate change
Over the past 70 years since the foundation of the People's Republic of China, Chinese scientists have made great contributions to various fields in the research of atmospheric sciences, which attracted worldwide attention.

A CERN for climate change
In a Perspective article appearing in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Tim Palmer (Oxford University), and Bjorn Stevens (Max Planck Society), critically reflect on the present state of Earth system modelling.

Fairy-wrens change breeding habits to cope with climate change
Warmer temperatures linked to climate change are having a big impact on the breeding habits of one of Australia's most recognisable bird species, according to researchers at The Australian National University (ANU).

Believing in climate change doesn't mean you are preparing for climate change, study finds
Notre Dame researchers found that although coastal homeowners may perceive a worsening of climate change-related hazards, these attitudes are largely unrelated to a homeowner's expectations of actual home damage.

Older forests resist change -- climate change, that is
Older forests in eastern North America are less vulnerable to climate change than younger forests, particularly for carbon storage, timber production, and biodiversity, new research finds.

Read More: Climate Change News and Climate Change Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.