01 Dec 2021
01 Dec 2021
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Spatiotemporal responses in crop water footprint and benchmark under different irrigation techniques to climate change scenarios in China

Zhiwei Yue1,3,, Xiangxiang Ji1,3,, La Zhuo2,3,4,5, Wei Wang4,5, Zhibin Li4,5, and Pute Wu2,3,4,5 Zhiwei Yue et al.
  • 1College of Water Resources and Architectural Engineering, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, China
  • 2Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, China
  • 3Institute of Water-saving Agriculture in Arid Regions of China, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, China
  • 4Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Water Resources, Yangling 712100, China
  • 5University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract. Adaptation to future climate change with limited water resources is a major global challenge to sustainable and sufficient crop production. However, the large-scale responses of crop water footprint and its associated benchmarks under various irrigation techniques to future climate change scenarios remain unclear. The present study quantified the responses of maize and wheat water footprint per unit yield (WFP, m3 t−1) and corresponding WFP benchmarks under two representative concentration pathways (RCPs) in the 2030s, 2050s, and 2080s at a 5-arc minute grid level in the case for China. The differences among rain-fed and furrow-, micro-, and sprinkler-irrigated wheat and maize were identified. Compared with the baseline year (2013), maize WFP will increase under both RCP2.6 and RCP8.5, by 17 % and 13 %, respectively, until the 2080s. Wheat WFP will increase under RCP2.6 (by 12 % until the 2080s), while decrease by 12 % under RCP8.5 until the 2080s. WFP will increase the most for rain-fed crops. Relative to rain-fed crops, micro irrigation and sprinkler irrigation result in the smallest increases in WFP for maize and wheat, respectively. These water-saving managements will more effectively mitigate the negative impact of climate change. Furthermore, the spatial distributions of WFP benchmarks will not change as dramatically as those of WFP. The present study demonstrated that the visible different responses to climate change in terms of crop water consumption, water use efficiency, and WFP benchmarks under different irrigation techniques must be addressed and monitored. It also lays the foundation for future investigations into the influences of irrigation methods, RCPs, and crop types on WFP and its benchmarks in response to climate change in all agricultural regions worldwide.

Zhiwei Yue et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2021-568', Anonymous Referee #1, 22 Feb 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', La Zhuo, 15 Apr 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on hess-2021-568', Anonymous Referee #2, 13 Mar 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', La Zhuo, 15 Apr 2022

Zhiwei Yue et al.


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Short summary
Facing the increasing challenge from climate change with limited water resources on sustainable crop supply, large-scale responses in water footprint and benchmark of crop production remain unclear. Here we quantify effects of future climate change scenarios on water footprint and benchmarks of maize and wheat in time and space in China’s case. Differences between rain-fed and irrigated farms, as well as between crops growth under furrow, sprinkler and micro irrigation are identified.