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Optimizing irrigation water use in the West Bank, Palestine

By Dima W. Nazer, Amaury Tilmant, Ziad Mimi, Maarten A. Siebel, Pieter Van der Zaag and Huub J. Gijzen


We examine optimal irrigation water allocation on the West Bank using a linear mathematical programming model. Our analysis involves five agricultural zones and five fruit and vegetable crops: tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, squash and citrus. We analyze three scenarios: (1) maintaining the existing cropping patterns, (2) maximizing profit under water and land availability constraints, and (3) maximizing profit under water and land availability constraints, while also imposing an additional constraint requiring production of crops for local consumption. The water used for irrigation is reduced by 10% (4% of all agricultural water use) by changing the cropping patterns of the five crops we analyze under land and water availability constraints. The total value added in irrigated agriculture increases by 38%, equivalent to 4% of the entire agricultural sector. Imposing the additional constraint requiring production for local consumption also reduces irrigation water use by 10%, while the increase in value added is only 12% (1% for the entire agricultural sector).Agriculture Cropping patterns Linear programming Profit maximization Water scarcity

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