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The sustainability of european irrigated agriculture under water directive and agenda 2000 (WADI)

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Irrigation decision-making via mathematical models

Mathematical models have been developed which simulate some of the typical decision-making processes farmers undertake. The goal is to estimate the amount of water needed in irrigated crop production.

Climate Change and Environment icon Climate Change and Environment

Water is a scarce and valuable resource that enables wealth and development. In the case of crop irrigation, this is even more so considering that crop irrigation is more likely to take place in the most arid regions such as the Mediterranean. Therefore in order to address this issue, the project used three dimensions: economic impact, social impact and environmental impact. What is paramount in each is not the orthodox notion of profitability, but rather how it will all measure up in terms of sustainability. In order to consider these multiple objectives, a collaboration of European universities has used case studies made up of 11 static farm models. Many factors went into consideration for the decision-making strategies of the surrogate utility function. This surrogate utility function assists in estimating how much water is necessary for irrigated crop production. Some of them include impact of the changes in water commodity prices, water availability and water prices. All of the factors take three main objectives into consideration. These are: profit maximisation, risk minimisation and minimisation of labour inputs. Because these mathematical models can simulate the behavioural patterns of farmers, they also have the potential to forecast the consequences of agriculture and water-pricing policy changes in the future.

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