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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-146
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-146
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  08 Apr 2020

08 Apr 2020

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS). The manuscript was not accepted for further review after discussion.

Combined Simulation and Optimization Framework for Irrigation Scheduling in Agriculture Fields

Mireia Fontanet1,2,3, Daniel Fernàndez-Garcia2,3, Gema Rodrigo1, Francesc Ferrer1, and Josep Maria Villar4 Mireia Fontanet et al.
  • 1LabFerrer, Cervera, 25200, Spain
  • 2Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), Barcelona, 08034, Spain
  • 3Associated Unit: Hydrogeology Group (UPC-CSIC)
  • 4Department of Environmental and Soil Sciences, Universitat de Lleida (UdL), Lleida, 25003, Spain

Abstract. In the context of growing evidence of climate change and the fact that agriculture uses about 70 % of all the water available for irrigation in semi-arid areas, there is an increasing probability of water scarcity scenarios. Water irrigation optimization is therefore one of the main goals of researchers and stakeholders involved in irrigated agriculture. Irrigation scheduling is often conducted based on simple water requirement calculations without accounting for the strong link between water movement in the root zone, soil-water-crop productivity and irrigation expenses. In this work, we present a combined simulation and optimization framework aimed at estimating irrigation parameters that maximize the crop net margin. The simulation component couples the movement of water in a variably saturated porous media driven by irrigation with crop water uptake and crop yields. The optimization component assures maximum gain with minimum cost of crop production during a growing season. An application of the method demonstrates that an optimal solution exists and substantially differs from traditional methods. In contrast to traditional methods, results show that the optimal irrigation scheduling solution prevents water logging and provides a more constant value of water content during the entire growing season within the root zone. As a result, in this case, the crop net margin cost exhibits a substantial increase with respect to the traditional method. The optimal irrigation scheduling solution is also shown to strongly depend on the particular soil hydraulic properties of the given field site.

Mireia Fontanet et al.

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Mireia Fontanet et al.

Mireia Fontanet et al.

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