Water Resources Management

, Volume 29, Issue 5, pp 1413–1430 | Cite as

Adapting Water Allocation to Irrigation Demands to Constraints in Water Availability Imposed by Climate Change

  • Adriadna Chavez-JimenezEmail author
  • Alfredo Granados
  • Luis Garrote
  • Francisco Martín-Carrasco


Climate change projections predict a rise in temperatures which may result in a reduction in water resource availability. Irrigation is both the most demanding water use and that which is the lowest priority. Consequently, adaptation measures regarding irrigation demands are required in coping with such a resource decrease. As improvement in water efficiency use could not be enough to counteract strong stream flow reductions, management actions regarding demands may be implemented. This paper proposes a methodology for identifying the required reductions and sequence in which water allocation is to be reduced in order to meet satisfactory system behaviour. Such a methodology could help basin managers in decision making in meeting irrigation demands which, accordingly, could offer better performance in terms of both reliability and productivity. The methodology is applied at the Guadalquivir Basin in Spain, under eight hydrological projections which represent future climate change scenarios. The results show that it is possible to reduce future water scarcity problems and, hence, improve system performance. In addition to this, it is found that optimal reduction sequence is not only affected by water productivity, but also by the system topology which influences reliability. In the case study, the most sensitive demands are those located at the river head. As such demands have no alternative sources, they typically offer the lowest degree of reliability.


Climate change Adaptation measures Irrigation demand Water resources system Reliability indicators Water productivity 



The authors wish to express their gratitude for financial support received from VIAGUA (410AC0399), funded by the Ibero-American Program for Scientific and Technological Development (CYTED)and from the European Commission BASE project (Grant agreement no: ENV-308337) of the 7th Framework Programme. The help of Andrew Selby in the proofreading of the manuscript is gratefully acknowledged.


  1. Alcamo J, Döll P, Henrichs T et al (2003) Global estimates of water withdrawals and availability under current and future “business-as-usual” conditions. Hydrological 48:339–348CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alcamo J, Flörke M, Märker M (2007) Future long-term changes in global water resources driven by socio-economic and climatic changes. Hydrol Sci J 37–41Google Scholar
  3. Andreu J, Capilla J, Sanchis E (1996) AQUATOOL, a generalized decision-support system for water-resources planning and operational management. J Hydrol 177:269–291. doi: 10.1016/0022-1694(95)02963-X CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Behera UK, Panigrahi P, Sarangi A (2012) Multiple Water Use Protocols in Integrated Farming System for Enhancing Productivity. Water Resour Manag 26:2605–2623. doi:  10.1007/s11269-012-0035-z
  5. Berbel J, Gómez-Limón J (2000) The impact of water-pricing policy in Spain: an analysis of three irrigated areas. Agric Water Manag 43:219–238. doi: 10.1016/S0378-3774(99)00056-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Berbel J, Martin-Ortega J, Mesa P (2010) A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Water-Saving Measures for the Water Framework Directive: the Case of the Guadalquivir River Basin in Southern Spain. Water Resour Manag 25:623–640. doi: 10.1007/s11269-010-9717-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Berbel J, Mesa-Jurado MA, Pistón JM (2011) Value of Irrigation Water in Guadalquivir Basin (Spain) by Residual Value Method. Water Resour Manag 25:1565–1579. doi: 10.1007/s11269-010-9761-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bhat A, Blomquist W (2004) Policy, politics, and water management in the Guadalquivir River Basin, Spain. Water Resour Res 40:n/a–n/a. doi:  10.1029/2003WR002726
  9. Camacho Poyato E (1995) Análisis de la eficiencia y el ahorro de agua en el regadío de la cuenca del Guadalquivir. Inversiones en la modernización de regadíos. FERAGUA, España. Agricultura 880–886.Google Scholar
  10. Chavez-Jimenez A, De Lama B, Garrote L et al (2013) Characterisation of the sensitivity of water resources systems to climate change. Water Resour Manag 27:4237–4258. doi: 10.1007/s11269-013-0404-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chen C, Wang E, Yu Q (2010) Modelling the effects of climate variability and water management on crop water productivity and water balance in the North China Plain. Agric Water Manag 97:1175–1184. doi: 10.1016/j.agwat.2008.11.012 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cheng H, Hu Y (2011) Improving China’s water resources management for better adaptation to climate change. Clim Change 112:253–282. doi: 10.1007/s10584-011-0042-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. D’Agostino D, Scardigno A, Lamaddalena N, El Chami D (2014) Sensitivity analysis of coupled hydro-economic models: quantifying climate change uncertainty for decision-making. Water Resour Manag 4303–4318. doi:  10.1007/s11269-014-0748-2
  14. Dworak T, Berglund M, Cornelius L, et al. (2007) Final report EU Water saving potential (Part 1 – Report). ENV.D.2/ETU/2007/0001r. 1–247.Google Scholar
  15. El Chami D, Scardigno A, Malorgio G (2011) Impacts of Combined Technical and Economic Measures on Water Saving in Agriculture under Water Availability Uncertainty. Water Resour Manag 25:3911–3929. doi: 10.1007/s11269-011-9894-y CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Estrela T, Quintas L (1996) El sistema integrad de modelización precipitación escorrentía (SIMPA). Rev Ing Civ 104:43–52Google Scholar
  17. Fischer G, Tubiello FN, van Velthuizen H, Wiberg DA (2007) Climate change impacts on irrigation water requirements: Effects of mitigation, 1990–2080. Technol Forecast Soc Chang 74:1083–1107. doi: 10.1016/j.techfore.2006.05.021 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. García de Jalón S, Iglesias A, Quiroga S, Bardají I (2013) Exploring public support for climate change adaptation policies in the Mediterranean region: A case study in Southern Spain. Environ Sci Pol 29:1–11. doi: 10.1016/j.envsci.2013.01.010 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. García-Ruiz JM, López-Moreno JI, Vicente-Serrano SM et al (2011) Mediterranean water resources in a global change scenario. Earth Sci Rev 105:121–139. doi: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2011.01.006 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. García-Vila M, Lorite IJ, Soriano MA, Fereres E (2008) Management trends and responses to water scarcity in an irrigation scheme of Southern Spain. Agric Water Manag 95:458–468. doi: 10.1016/j.agwat.2007.11.009 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Garrote L, Iglesias A, Granados A et al (2014) Quantitative Assessment of Climate Change Vulnerability of Irrigation Demands in Mediterranean Europe. Water Resour Manag. doi: 10.1007/s11269-014-0736-6 Google Scholar
  22. Geerts S, Raes D (2009) Deficit irrigation as an on-farm strategy to maximize crop water productivity in dry areas. Agric Water Manag 96:1275–1284. doi: 10.1016/j.agwat.2009.04.009 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. George B, Malano H, Davidson B et al (2011) An integrated hydro-economic modelling framework to evaluate water allocation strategies I: Model development. Agric Water Manag 98:747–758. doi: 10.1016/j.agwat.2010.12.004 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Van Halsema GE, Vincent L (2012) Efficiency and productivity terms for water management: A matter of contextual relativism versus general absolutism. Agric Water Manag 108:9–15. doi: 10.1016/j.agwat.2011.05.016 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hanks RJ (1974) Model for predicting plant yield as influenced by water use. Agron J 66:660–665. doi: 10.2134/agronj1974.00021962006600050017x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Howden SM, Soussana J-F, Tubiello FN et al (2007) Adapting agriculture to climate change. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 104:19691–6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0701890104 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Iglesias A, Garrote L, Diz A et al (2011a) Re-thinking water policy priorities in the Mediterranean region in view of climate change. Environ Sci Pol. doi: 10.1016/j.envsci.2011.02.007 Google Scholar
  28. Iglesias A, Quiroga S, Moneo M, Garrote L (2011b) From climate change impacts to the development of adaptation strategies: Challenges for agriculture in Europe. Clim Chang 112:143–168. doi: 10.1007/s10584-011-0344-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. IPCC (2013) Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Contribution of Working GroupGoogle Scholar
  30. MAGRAMA-CHG (2013) Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente-Confederación Hidrográfica del Guadalquivir. Plan hidrológico del Guadalquivir 2009–2015. 484Google Scholar
  31. Martin-Carrasco F, Garrote L, Iglesias A, Mediero L (2012) Diagnosing Causes of Water Scarcity in Complex Water Resources Systems and Identifying Risk Management Actions. Water Resour Manag. doi: 10.1007/s11269-012-0081-6 Google Scholar
  32. Martin-Ortega J, Giannoccaro G, Berbel J (2011) Environmental and Resource Costs Under Water Scarcity Conditions: An Estimation in the Context of the European Water Framework Directive. Water Resour Manag 25:1615–1633. doi: 10.1007/s11269-010-9764-z CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mehta VK, Haden VR, Joyce BA et al (2013) Irrigation demand and supply, given projections of climate and land-use change, in Yolo County, California. Agric Water Manag 117:70–82. doi: 10.1016/j.agwat.2012.10.021 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Molden D, Oweis T, Steduto P et al (2010) Improving agricultural water productivity: Between optimism and caution. Agric Water Manag 97:528–535. doi: 10.1016/j.agwat.2009.03.023 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Montesinos P, Camacho E, Campos B, Rodríguez-Díaz JA (2011) Analysis of Virtual Irrigation Water. Application to Water Resources Management in a Mediterranean River Basin. Water Resour Manag 25:1635–1651. doi: 10.1007/s11269-010-9765-y CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Pahl-Wostl C (2007) Transitions towards adaptive management of water facing climate and global change. Water Resour Manag 21:49–62. doi: 10.1007/s11269-006-9040-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Playán E, Mateos L (2006) Modernization and optimization of irrigation systems to increase water productivity. Agric Water Manag 80:100–116. doi: 10.1016/j.agwat.2005.07.007 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. PRUDENCE (2007) Prediction of regional scenarios and uncertainties for defining European climate change risks and effects. Project EKV2-CT2001-00132 in the EU 5th Framework program for energy, environment and sustainable development.Google Scholar
  39. Pulido-Calvo I, Gutiérrez-Estrada JC, Savic D (2012) Heuristic Modelling of the Water Resources Management in the Guadalquivir River Basin, Southern Spain. Water Resour Manag 26:185–209. doi: 10.1007/s11269-011-9912-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Purkey DR, Joyce B, Vicuna S et al (2007) Robust analysis of future climate change impacts on water for agriculture and other sectors: a case study in the Sacramento Valley. Clim Chang 87:109–122. doi: 10.1007/s10584-007-9375-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Rodríguez Díaz J, Weatherhead E, Knox J, Camacho E (2007) Climate change impacts on irrigation water requirements in the Guadalquivir river basin in Spain. Reg Environ Chang 7:149–159. doi: 10.1007/s10113-007-0035-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Rodríguez N, Sánchez MT, López J (2008) Un análisis de la eficiencia socioeconómica del agua en el regadío andaluz. Rev Española Estud Agrosociales y Pesq 217:183–208Google Scholar
  43. Shao W, Yang D, Hu H, Sanbongi K (2008) Water Resources Allocation Considering the Water Use Flexible Limit to Water Shortage—A Case Study in the Yellow River Basin of China. Water Resour Manag 23:869–880. doi: 10.1007/s11269-008-9304-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Strosser P, Roussard J, Grandmougin B, Kossida M, Kyriazopoulou I, Berbel J, Kolberg S, Rodríguez-Díaz J, Montesinos P, Joyce J, Dworak T, Berglund M, Laaser C (2007) Final report EU water saving potential (Part 2 – Case Studies). ENV.D.2/ETU/2007/0001r. BerlinGoogle Scholar
  45. Tarjuelo JM, De-Juan JA, Moreno MA, Ortega JF (2010) Review. Water resources deficit and water engineering. Spanish J Agric Res 8(S2):S102–S121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wheida E, Verhoeven R (2007) An alternative solution of the water shortage problem in Libya. Water Resour Manag 21:961–982. doi: 10.1007/s11269-006-9067-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Yilmaz B, Yurdusev MA, Harmancioglu NB (2008) The Assessment of Irrigation Efficiency in Buyuk Menderes Basin. Water Resour Manag 23:1081–1095. doi: 10.1007/s11269-008-9316-y CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adriadna Chavez-Jimenez
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Alfredo Granados
    • 2
  • Luis Garrote
    • 2
  • Francisco Martín-Carrasco
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of PiuraPiuraPeru
  2. 2.Department of Civil Engineering: Hydraulic and Energy EngineeringTechnical University of MadridMadridSpain

Personalised recommendations