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Journal Article

Irrigation water demand of selected agricultural crops in Germany between 1902 and 2010


Drastig,  K.
External Organizations;

Prochnow,  A.
External Organizations;

Libra,  J.
External Organizations;


Koch,  Hagen
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;


Rolinski,  Susanne
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

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Drastig, K., Prochnow, A., Libra, J., Koch, H., Rolinski, S. (2016): Irrigation water demand of selected agricultural crops in Germany between 1902 and 2010. - Science of the Total Environment, 569-570, 1299-1314.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_21000
Irrigation water demand (IWD) is increasing worldwide, including in regions such as Germany that are characterized with low precipitation levels, yet grow water-demanding crops such as sugar beets, potatoes, and vegetables. This study aimed to calculate and analyze the spatial and temporal changes in the IWD of four crops—spring barley, oat, winter wheat, and potato—between 1902 and 2010 in Germany by using the modeling software AgroHyd Farmmodel. Climatic conditions in Germany continued to change over the investigation period, with an increase in temperature of 0.01 K/yr and an increase in precipitation of 1 mm/yr. Nevertheless, no significant increasing or decreasing trend in IWD was noted in the analysis. The IWD for the investigated crops in the area of the current “Federal Republic of Germany” over the 109 years was 112 mm/yr, varying between 100 and 127 mm/yr. Changes in cropping pattern and cultivated area over the last century caused large differences in the IWD calculated for each administrative district. The mean annual IWD of over the study period (which was divided into 4 parts) varied between 13,455 Mm3/yr in the earliest period (1902–1919) and 4717 Mm3/yr in the latest period (1990–2010). Policy and management measures to adapt to climate change are currently being debated in Germany. The presented results suggest that the effects of the choice of crops (in this case, changes in cropping pattern in the German nation states) had a stronger influence on regional water resources than those of climate variability. Thus, the influence of climate change on water resources is relativized which brings an important input into the debate.