Bottom up Adaptation Strategies for a Sustainable Europe

Adaptation of irrigation networks to climate change: Linking robust design and stakeholder contribution

Agriculture is a particularly sensitive sector to the potential impacts of climate change. Thus, irrigation infrastructure is required to be robust to cope with these potential threats. The objective of this research is designing more robust irrigation networks, considering cost and stakeholder contribution. To that end, the investigation was addressed in three phases: a sensitivity analysis to understand the effectiveness of the distinct variables, a cost-effectiveness analysis assessing their efficiency, and a global study of the most efficient variables to provide an insight into their function. The sensitivity analysis indicates that the networks oversized by means of the coefficient of utilisation or the factor of safety, behave better than those oversized via the continuous specific discharge; moreover, the degree of freedom has been shown ineffective. The cost-effectiveness analysis shows that the coefficient of utilisation and the factor of safety are the most efficient variables, as they introduced safety margin oversizing fewer network elements and to a lesser extent than the continuous specific discharge. It also shows that stakeholder contribution, conveyed as a reduction of the degree of freedom, plays an important role in the network’s adaptive capacity to change. The global study of these variables reveals the subtlety of the coefficient of utilisation, which is the variable that better reproduces the farmer behaviour during demand increase scenarios. In conclusion, the results identify the coefficient of utilisation as the variable which provides the safest margins and reveal the importance of stakeholder contribution in absorb the demand increase in a better manner.

Journal title: 
Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research
Alfredo Granados
Francisco J. Martín-Carrasco
Silvestre García de Jalón
Ana Iglesias
Publication Type: 
Date of publication: 
January, 2016