Schieder, Tina-Maria: Analysis of Water Use and Crop Allocation for the Khorezm Region in Uzbekistan Using an Integrated Hydrologic-Economic Model. - Bonn, 2011. - Dissertation, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn.
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author = {{Tina-Maria Schieder}},
title = {Analysis of Water Use and Crop Allocation for the Khorezm Region in Uzbekistan Using an Integrated Hydrologic-Economic Model},
school = {Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn},
year = 2011,
month = apr,

note = {Sustainable and efficient water management is of central importance for the dominant agricultural sector and thus for the population and the environment of the Khorezm region. Khorezm is situated in the lower Amu Darya river basin in the Central Asian Republic of Uzbekistan and the delta region of the Aral Sea. Recently, Khorezm has experienced an increase in ecological, economic and social problems. The deterioration of the ecology is a result of the vast expansion of the agricultural area (which began in the Soviet period in Uzbekistan), the utilization of marginal land and a very intensive production of cotton on a significant share of arable land. Supplying food for an increasing population and overcoming with the arid climate in Khorezm require intensive irrigation. However, the water distribution system is outdated. Current irrigation strategies are not flexible enough to cope with water supply and crop water demand, as both are becoming more variable. The political system, with its stringent crop quotas for cotton and wheat, nepotism, missing property rights and lack of incentives to save water, has promoted unsustainable water use rather than preventing it.
The focus of this study is an analysis of more economical and eco-efficient water management and crop allocation. The effects of political incentives as well as modified technological, environmental and institutional conditions, such as the reform of the cotton sector, the introduction of water prices and the improvement of the irrigation system, are evaluated regarding regional water distribution, crop allocation and economical outcomes. As a result, the basic hydrological and agronomical balances and characteristics in the Khorezm region are highly important and need to be identified. To adequately analyze these underlying conditions, an integrated water management model was chosen. The novelty of this study is the combination of interdisciplinary aspects in a theoretically consistent modeling framework. Essential hydrologic, climatologic, agronomic, institutional and economic relationships are integrated into one coherent optimization model for the Khorezm region. The capacity of the model to consider canal water and groundwater is of special importance. Furthermore, the water balance approach (accounting for water input and output) has an advantage over the static norm approach when used to determine irrigation requirements.
Simulations with the model indicate that a modification of the regional water supply, either politically or anthropogenically induced, has a large influence on the total irrigation, groundwater and drainage-system as well as the soil water budget in Khorezm. The model simulations suggest that low water supply causes a shift in the crop allocation to less waterdemanding crops such as vegetables, wheat, alfalfa and fruits, which also have a higher value added in economic terms. When higher water supply is available, the cultivation of waterdemanding rice, a crop that is favored by the local population, would become more advantageous due to higher gross margins. Simulations on an improvement of water distribution and irrigation systems indicate that infiltration losses could be diminished, especially at the field level. Furthermore, this would lead to an increase in additional available crop water supply, with positive impacts on crop yields. The simulation results further indicate that a complete liberalization of the cotton sector would lead to a fundamental restructuring of the crop allocation to less water-demanding crops and higher economically valued crops. This reform of the cotton sector would also lead to a general reduction of acreage with full compensation for the losses caused by the abolition of cotton subsidies and quota system. Marginal land could be reduced. However, the abolition of subsidies and secured crop sales prices by the government would increase the risk for farmers. Finally, the modeling results indicate that the introduction of water pricing could be an important instrument to induce environmental consumer awareness, which could lead to resource conservation. As a result of the extremely low gross crop profit margins in Khorezm, only a water price on a very low level could feasibly be implemented in this region.},

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