28 Jul 2011

Speed blogging

H/T to TM and WL

1 comment:

Carlos A. López Morales said...

I am fascinated with the efficiency issue. It's an idea that's been around for some time. I recall the debate maintained by people at IWMI about wet and dry savings.

There are 2 things I wish they get mentioned as often in the debate, as I don't have complete clarity on them yet. One is quality, the other are disruption of flow regimes. Ag runoff may infiltrate into other sources, true, but are we to assume that this water is readily available? What about pollution? To assume that farmer's water savings from drip are always dry savings has the same problems of assuming they are always wet savings. It depends on location, it depends on quality. Now, ensuring that better irrigation does not translate into higher water demand (some sort of Jevons Paradox) is, again, a regulation issue... This land/water link behaves like surface/groundwater link: regulating surface and only surface leads to more exploitation of unregulated aquifers. Regulation of water, in this sense, can lead to a more intensive and extensive use of land, which is also a scarce and non-renewable resource...

I believe for sustainability and markets the right concept are withdrawals. The adoption of more water efficient irrigation technologies can reduce farmers' demand for withdrawals, which can facilitate the restoration of flow regimes in surface water to ensure provision of ecosystem services. The possibility of lower withdrawals is very attractive because of this reason. Now, if we know that reduced withdrawals here will translate into reduced supply there, then we know enough to install a withdrawal market, the success of which ultimately depends on the infrastructure ability to bring water from here to there...

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