عنوان مقاله [English]
Introduction: Water use and pollution have raised to a critical level in many compartments of the world. If humankind is to meet the challenges over the coming fifty years, the agricultural share of water use has to be substantially reduced. In this study, a modern yet simple approach has been proposed through the introduction concept ‘Water Footprint’ (WF). This concept can be used to study the connection between each product and the water allocation to produce that product. This research estimates the green, blue and gray WF of wheat in Iran. Also a new WF compartment (white) is used that is related about irrigation water loss.
Materials and Methods: The national green (Effective precipitation), blue (Net irrigation requirement), gray (For diluting chemical fertilizers) and white (Irrigation water losses) water footprints (WF) of wheat production were estimated for fifteen major wheat producing provinces of Iran. Evapotranspiration, irrigation requirement, gross irrigation requirement and effective rainfall were got using the AGWAT model. Yields of irrigated and rain-fed lands of each province were got from Iran Agricultural-Jihad Ministry. Another compartment of the wheat production WF is related about the volume of water required to assimilate the fertilizers leached in runoff (gray WF). Moreover, a new concept of white water footprint was proposed here and represents irrigation water losses, which was neglected in the original calculation framework. Finally, the national WF compartments of wheat production were estimated by taking the average of each compartment over all the provinces weighted by the share of each province in total wheat production of the selected provinces.
Results and Discussion: In 2006-2012, more than 67% of the national wheat production was irrigated and 32.3% were rain-fed, on average, while 37.9% of the total wheat-cultivated lands were irrigated and 62.1% was rain-fed from more than 6,568 -ha. The total national WF of wheat production for this period was estimated as 42,143 MCM/year, on average. Different compartments of wheat WF were estimated for 236 plains in fifteen selected provinces. For irrigated areas, the green WFs ranged from 499 to 1,023 m3/ton, the blue WFs from 521 to 1,402 m3/ton, the gray WFs from 337 to 822 m3/ton, and the white WFs from 701 to 2,301 m3/ton. The average total WF for irrigated areas among all the selected provinces is about 3,188 m3/ton, with almost equal shares of blue and green water. For rain-fed areas, the green WFs ranged from 1,282 to 4,166 m3/ton and the gray WFs from 100 to 740 m3/ton. The average total WF for rainfed areas is about 3,071 m3/ton with the share of green WF being nine times the gray WF. In irrigated areas, the percentages of green, blue, gray and white WFs are 23, 25, 17 and 35% of total WF, respectively in each province. The average total WF for irrigated areas is about 3,188 m3/ton with comparable shares of blue and green water. In irrigated areas, Fars, Khorasan and Khuzestan provinces have the largest of the total WF with 5,575, 5,028 and 4,123 MCM/year, respectively. In addition to large cultivated areas and high rates of potential evapotranspiration, high values of gray and white water is another reason for the high volume of total WF in these provinces.
Conclusions: The results showed that the green WF related about wheat production in our country is about 2.3 times the blue WF. It confirmed the importance of green water in wheat production. Also the gray water footprint was assessed which is related about nitrogen application. Besides, the white water footprint was proposed here, which represents irrigation water losses. Results showed that the total water footprint in wheat production for the whole country is about 42,143 MCM/year on average over the period of 2006-2012. The ratios of green, blue, gray and white water were 41, 18, 16 and 25%, respectively. Different compartments of wheat WF were estimated for 236 plains over fifteen selected provinces. Total shares of gray and white water footprint were 41% of total wheat production water footprint. The average total WF for irrigated areas among all selected provinces is about 3,188 m3/ton, with almost equal shares of blue and green water. The authors admit that the accuracy of these results is subject to the quality of the input data.