Irrigation, crop stress and drainage reduction under uncertainty: A scenario study

F.D. Mondaca-Duarte*, S. van Mourik, J. Balendonck, W. Voogt, M. Heinen, E.J. van Henten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Two thirds of human water use is linked to agricultural practices including crop irrigation. Furthermore, excess irrigation leads to drainage problems. For this reason, reduced irrigation strategies need to be implemented to protect water resources. However, low irrigation may lead to crop water stress. A fast and inexpensive way to predict the necessary amount of irrigation required is by a model-based approach. With this approach, it is possible to explore the relation between irrigation, crop water stress and drainage. However, parameter uncertainty can reduce prediction accuracy. Therefore, the aims of this research were: (1) to develop and test a methodology that allows the analysis of uncertainty sources in irrigation strategies (2) to identify how much irrigation can be reduced while maintaining a low risk of crop stress, and (3) to explore the influence of uncertainty in soil parameters and evapotranspiration on model predictions. Results from a realistic case considered in this study indicated that, while maintaining a low risk of crop stress (<1 %), it is possible to reduce drainage (by 88 %) and water use (22 %) for a conventional irrigation strategy. This reduction is dependent on the type of risk aversion strategy and is specific for a case scenario where variations are certain.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105990
JournalAgricultural Water Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • Evapotranspiration
  • Hydraulic conductivity
  • Monte Carlo
  • Richards equation
  • Uncertainty


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