Cost-benefit Analysis Of Different Solutions For Sustainable Irrigation In Fucino Plain (Italy)
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263 - 272
E. Frank, A. Gallina, M. Baldacci & M. Miolo
The Fucino Plain (200 km²) was the largest lake in Central Italy prior to the 1800s when it was reclaimed for agricultural use. In the past 15 years the original crops, mostly wheat, maize and sugar beet, have been progressively replaced with much more profitable (but more water demanding) horticultural crops. Increasing demand for water together with the actual irrigation techniques and the changes in the climate (decreasing precipitation and increasing temperatures) has caused a number of environmental and social-economical problems. These are mainly related to groundwater resource depletion, spring exhaustion, a decline in summer and annual surface water discharges, scarcity of irrigation water and conflict between different users. Based on a comprehensive study of water supply and demand, several measures for a sustainable use of water were considered. These were mainly related to the implementation of more efficient irrigation techniques, the increase of storage capacity and, subsequently, a reduction in the use of ground water. An accurate cost-benefit analysis showed a positive environmental impact (decline of 70% of ground water exploitation, reduction of energy consumption) and social benefits (increasing of quantity and quality of agricultural production) for the chosen solution. Keywords: sustainable irrigation, irrigation systems and planning, cost-benefit analysis, water balance models, water resource management. 1 Introduction In the recent past water availability in the Fucino Plain was not a problem: both agriculture and public water supply needs were met using surface water from canals and springs. Since the 1950s, the increasing water demand was satisfied
sustainable irrigation, irrigation systems and planning, cost-benefit analysis, water balance models, water resource management.