Publication Abstracts

Lopez et al. 2022

Lopez, J.R., J.M. Winter, J. Elliott, A.C. Ruane, C. Porter, and G. Hoogenboom, 2022: Sustainable use of groundwater may dramatically reduce irrigated production of maize, soybean, and wheat. Earth's Future, 10, no. 1, e2021EF002018, doi:10.1029/2021EF002018.

Groundwater extraction in the United States (US) is unsustainable, making it essential to understand the impacts of limited water use on irrigated agriculture. Here, we integrate a gridded crop model with satellite observations, recharge estimates, and water survey data to assess the effects of sustainable groundwater withdrawals on US irrigated agricultural production. Our model agrees with satellite-based estimates of evapotranspiration (R2 = 0.68), as well as survey production estimates from the United States Department of Agriculture (R2 = 0.82-0.94 for county-level production and 0.37-0.54 for county-level yield). Using the optimistic assumption that groundwater extraction equals estimated effective aquifer recharge rate, we find that sustainable groundwater use decreases US irrigated production of maize, soybean, and winter wheat by 20%, 6%, and 25%, respectively. Using a more conservative assumption of groundwater availability, US irrigated production of maize, soybean, and winter wheat decreases by 45%, 37%, and 36%, respectively. The wide range of simulated losses is driven by considerable uncertainty in surface water and groundwater interactions, as well as accounting for adaptation and the many aspects of sustainability, including environmental flows. These results demonstrate the vulnerability of US irrigated agriculture to unsustainable groundwater pumping, highlighting the difficulty of expanding or even maintaining irrigated food production in the face of climate change, population growth, and shifting dietary demands. Our findings are based on reducing pumping by fallowing irrigated farmland, so alternate pumping reduction strategies or technological advances in crop genetics and irrigation technologies could produce different results.

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BibTeX Citation

@article{lo08100s,
  author={Lopez, J. R. and Winter, J. M. and Elliott, J. and Ruane, A. C. and Porter, C. and Hoogenboom, G.},
  title={Sustainable use of groundwater may dramatically reduce irrigated production of maize, soybean, and wheat},
  year={2022},
  journal={Earth's Future},
  volume={10},
  number={1},
  pages={e2021EF002018},
  doi={10.1029/2021EF002018},
}

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RIS Citation

TY  - JOUR
ID  - lo08100s
AU  - Lopez, J. R.
AU  - Winter, J. M.
AU  - Elliott, J.
AU  - Ruane, A. C.
AU  - Porter, C.
AU  - Hoogenboom, G.
PY  - 2022
TI  - Sustainable use of groundwater may dramatically reduce irrigated production of maize, soybean, and wheat
JA  - Earth's Future
VL  - 10
IS  - 1
SP  - e2021EF002018
DO  - 10.1029/2021EF002018
ER  -

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