For instance, Ica Valley, Perú, is now one of the largest asparagus producers of the world.
The Ica Department contributes more than 3% of the Peruvian Gross Value Added (GVA). It is due to the boom in export agriculture. The area planted with asparagus has grown from 400 to over 10 000 ha in just 20 years. Area of Vineyards and other crops has also grown.
Most of the irrigation water comes from groundwater. The abstraction from aquifers has increased to the same extent as the agricultural area.
The use of the Ica aquifer significantly exceeds the exploitable reserve (190 hm3/year). There is an over-exploitation of 76%, bringing water table decreases and increasing the aquifer salinity.
Agricultural production in the Ica Valley will be very limited in the medium term. Therefore, a sustainable irrigation management should be adopted.
On the other hand, Climate Change and its associated climate variability have brought additional pressure on water resources. Furthermore, Peru is one of the countries most exposed to the climate variability associated with El Niño – Southern Oscillation.
Over abstraction of water resources adds to the effects of climate change. That is why the Government of Peru estimates that about 70% of the cultivated areas will be affected by the scarcity of water in 2021.
There are efficient simulation tools available, such as hydrological models and crop models. These models can be used to evaluate the risks that the agricultural production of Ica Valley faces. Sustainable solutions can be found from the simulations. We suggest following an approach based on the ISO 22301 standard with the following actions:
- Building an agricultural database.
- Building a hydrological database according to the requirements of the FREEWAT platform.
- Agricultural simulations.
- Hydrological simulations.
- Recommending sustainable irrigation management according to simulation results.
- Climate risk analysis.
The procedure includes simulations in saturated and unsaturated zones, taking into account the actual agricultural management from the farms and the actual situation of the water tables.
Farmers and businesses based in the Ica Valley will have an Audit of the current irrigation management, made from simulations. They will receive recommendations too.