Re-evaluating the rationale for irrigation technology adoption through an integrated trade-off analysis: case study of a cotton farming system in Australia

Maraseni, T. N. and Mushtaq, S. and Reardon-Smith, K. (2014) Re-evaluating the rationale for irrigation technology adoption through an integrated trade-off analysis: case study of a cotton farming system in Australia. Journal of Water and Climate Change, 5 (3). pp. 328-340. ISSN 2040-2244


While the prevailing rationale for new irrigation technology adoption is improved water use efficiency, this study evaluated trade-offs between water savings, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and economic gain associated with the conversion of a furrow irrigation system to a sprinkler irrigation (lateral-move) system on a cotton farm in eastern Australia. Trade-offs were evident when conversion to the pressurised sprinkler irrigation system was evaluated in terms of fuel and energy related emission; the adoption of the new system saved water but increased GHG emissions.
However, when we considered changes in farm machinery and input uses as a result of the conversion, we found an overall reduction in GHG emissions. Overall, the GHG modelling indicated that higher total quantities of GHGs were emitted from the furrow irrigation (4,453 kg CO2e/ha) than from the sprinkler irrigation (3,347 kg CO2e/ha) farming system. Water efficiency modelling indicated that, on average, water savings of 18% are possible, while economic modelling indicated that the conversion of irrigation technology is a viable option. Even at a carbon price of AUD$30/tCO2e, investment in the sprinkler technology was an economically feasible option due to significant water savings and increased yield.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2014 21:00
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2017 01:10
Uncontrolled Keywords: Australia; cotton farming system; greenhouse gas emissions; integrated trade-offs framework; irrigation technologies
Fields of Research (2008): 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070108 Sustainable Agricultural Development
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0799 Other Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 079901 Agricultural Hydrology (Drainage, Flooding, Irrigation, Quality, etc.)
05 Environmental Sciences > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960302 Climate Change Mitigation Strategies
B Economic Development > 82 Plant Production and Plant Primary Products > 8203 Industrial Crops > 820301 Cotton
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