Irrigated agriculture in the North China plain is knowing increased pressure on the availability of water resources.
Both the agrarian reform and the need to satisfy the demand for water for industrial, urban and domestic uses led to deep changes in agricultural structures and irrigation and drainage systems. Nevertheless, groundwater levels still depleting, management of systems is not scientifically supported and on-farm irrigation requires improved application efficiences and higher water use efficiency.
Research should help building appropriate technologies. Experience gained by the European teams should combine with that of Chinese researchers and develop, strenghten their research capabilities. Thus, responding to main problems, the following research activities have been identified: a) modelling the water fluxes in the soil-groundwater-plant-water system; b) use this model to develop and calibrate an irrigation simulation model both for calculation of crop water requirements and irrigation scheduling; c) develop appropriate techniques for soil management aiming at improving soil structure, avoiding soil crusting and, thus, improving rainfall infiltration and conjunctive use of rainfall and irrigation water; d) develop methodologies to improve existing practices for water application Under surface irrigation aiming at higher distribution uniformities, increased efficiences, and controlled water losses; e) establish programs to support implementation of appropriate irrigation scheduling and irrigation methods; f) install an hidrologic research network and model the hydrologic behaviour of the conveyance, drainage and groundwater recharge system aiming at establishing improved management; g) perform a socio-economic survey and evaluation related to farmers adoption of innovations.
Research will combine modelling with fiem and laboratory experiments, which will be both to support and calibrate the models and to demonstrate. Research will be conducted both in China and Europe and will include on-job training of Chinese researchers, mainly on modern experimental and modelling methods.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
MK45 4DT Cranfield