Crop water footprints and virtual water flows: A comprehensive evaluation of crop water use in Saskatchewan
- University of Saskatchewan
Dr. Bing Si
Lead Investigator(s) Institution
University of Saskatchewan - Dept. of Soil Sciences
To evaluate the water footprints (WFs) for crops in Saskatchewan. To evaluate virtual water flows (VWFs) related to crop transfer in Saskatchewan. To assess strategies for water footprint reduction and water-saving benefits of virtual water flows.
The water footprint (WF) of crop production is a user-friendly means to analyze the consumption of the water resource in agricultural production systems. This study assessed the inter-annual variability of the total water footprint of three types of main crops: cereal (spring wheat and barley), oilseed (canola and sunflower) and pulse (lentils and chickpea), both from a yield and protein perspective, and determined the major factors influencing the water footprints in the province of Saskatchewan. The yield-based water footprint ranged between 1.08 and 1.80 m3 kg-1 for spring wheat, 0.90 and 1.38 m3 kg-1 for barley, 1.71 and 2.58 m3 kg-1 for canola, 1.94 and 4.28 m3 kg-1 for sunflower, 1.47 and 2.37 m3 kg-1 for lentils, and 1.39 and 1.79 m3 kg-1 for chickpea. In contrast, the protein yield-based water footprint ranged between 7.69 and 10.44 m3 kg-1 for spring wheat, 8.27 and 16.47 m3 kg-1 for barley, 3.79 and 7.75 m3 kg-1 for canola, 4.86 and 11.17 m3 kg-1 for sunflower, 5.09 and 7.42 m3 kg-1 for lentils, and 5.51 and 10.69 m3 kg-1 for chickpea. All water footprints of crops generally decreased with time, which was likely driven by scientific and technological advances. Pulse crops had a higher grain yield-based water footprint, but a lower protein yield-based water footprint than cereal crops.
Duration/Timeline of Project (Year to Year)
2016 - 2018