Estimation of agricultural water consumption from meteorological and yield data: a case study of Hebei, North China.

PloS one

PubMedID: 23516537

Yuan Z, Shen Y. Estimation of agricultural water consumption from meteorological and yield data: a case study of Hebei, North China. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(3):e58685.
Over-exploitation of groundwater resources for irrigated grain production in Hebei province threatens national grain food security. The objective of this study was to quantify agricultural water consumption (AWC) and irrigation water consumption in this region. A methodology to estimate AWC was developed based on Penman-Monteith method using meteorological station data (1984-2008) and existing actual ET (2002-2008) data which estimated from MODIS satellite data through a remote sensing ET model. The validation of the model using the experimental plots (50 m(2)) data observed from the Luancheng Agro-ecosystem Experimental Station, Chinese Academy of Sciences, showed the average deviation of the model was -3.7% for non-rainfed plots. The total AWC and irrigation water (mainly groundwater) consumption for Hebei province from 1984-2008 were then estimated as 864 km(3) and 139 km(3), respectively. In addition, we found the AWC has significantly increased during the past 25 years except for a few counties located in mountainous regions. Estimations of net groundwater consumption for grain food production within the plain area of Hebei province in the past 25 years accounted for 113 km(3) which could cause average groundwater decrease of 7.4 m over the plain. The integration of meteorological and satellite data allows us to extend estimation of actual ET beyond the record available from satellite data, and the approach could be applicable in other regions globally where similar data are available.