20 Jul 2023
 | 20 Jul 2023

Representing Farmer Irrigated Crop Area Adaptation in a Large-Scale Hydrological Model

Jim Yoon, Nathalie Voisin, Christian Klassert, Travis Thurber, and Wenwei Xu

Abstract. Large-scale hydrological models (LHMs) are commonly used for regional and global assessment of future water shortage outcomes under climate and socioeconomic scenarios. The irrigation of croplands, which accounts for the lion’s share of human water consumption, is critical in understanding these water shortage trajectories. Despite irrigation’s defining role, LHM frameworks typically impose trajectories of land use that underlie irrigation demand, neglecting potential dynamic feedbacks in the form of human instigation of and subsequent adaptation to water shortage via irrigated crop area changes. We extend an LHM, MOSART-WM, with adaptive farmer agents, applying the model to the Continental United States to explore water shortage outcomes that emerge from the interplay between hydrologic-driven surface water availability, reservoir management, and farmer irrigated crop area adaptation. The extended modeling framework is used to conduct hypothetical computational experiment comparing differences between a model run with and without the incorporation of adaptive farmer agents. These comparative simulations reveal that accounting for farmer adaptation via irrigated crop area changes substantially alters modeled water shortage outcomes, with U.S.-wide annual water shortage reduced by as much as 42 percent when comparing adaptive and non-adaptive versions of the model forced with U.S. climatology from 1950–2009.

Jim Yoon et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1604', Yi-Chen Ethan Yang, 10 Aug 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1604', Anonymous Referee #2, 07 Sep 2023

Jim Yoon et al.


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Short summary
Global and regional models used to evaluate water shortages typically neglect the possibility that irrigated crop areas may change in response to future hydrological conditions, such as the fallowing of crops in response to drought. Here, we enhance a model used for water shortage analysis with farmer agents that dynamically adapt their irrigated crop areas based on simulated hydrological conditions. Results indicate that such cropping adaptation can strongly alter simulated water shortages.