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The efficiency of drip irrigation unpacked

Van der Kooij S., Zwarteveen M., Boesveld H., Kuper M.. 2013. Agricultural Water Management, 123 : p. 103-110.

Erratum paru dans Agricultural Water Management (2013) 127 p. 124-126 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agwat.2013.06.012. Drip irrigation figures prominently in water policy debates as a possible solution to water scarcity prob-lems, based on the assertion that it will improve water use efficiencies. We use this article to carefullytrace the scientific basis of this assertion. Through a systematic review of the literature, we show thatthe term efficiency means different things to different people, and can refer to different elements in thewater balance. Most articles claim that drip irrigation is irrigation water use efficient and crop water useefficient, but different studies use different definitions of these terms. In addition, measured efficiencygains not only refer to different capacities of the technology, but are also based on very specific boundary(scale) assumptions. We conclude that efficiency gains from drip irrigation will only be achieved undernarrowly defined operational conditions, and just apply to very specific spatial and temporal scales.Hence, and unlike what generalized statements in policy documents and the overall enthusiasm for dripas a water saving tool suggest, expectations of increased water efficiencies associated with drip will onlybe realized, and are just realizable, in very specific circumstances. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : plante de culture; culture irriguée; irrigation; conservation de l'eau; utilisation de l'eau; efficience d'utilisation de l'eau; irrigation goutte à goutte

Thématique : Irrigation; Ressources en eau et leur gestion

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