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Irrigation Optimization via Crop Water Use in Saline Coastal Areas—A Field Data Analysis in China’s Yellow River Delta

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  • Jing Li
  • Deyao Liu
  • Yitao Zhang
  • Zhen Liu
  • Lingqing Wang
  • Huarui Gong
  • Yan Xu
  • Shanqing Lei
  • Hanyou Xie
  • Andrew Binley
Article number1990
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>15/05/2023
Issue number10
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Freshwater resources are becoming increasingly scarce in coastal areas, limiting crop productivity in coastal farmlands. Although the characteristic of crop water use is an important factor for water conservation in coastal farmlands, it has not been studied extensively. This study aimed to depict the water use process of soil–plant systems under saline stress in coastal ecosystems and optimize water management. An intensive observation experiment was performed within China’s Yellow River Delta to identify the water use processes and crop coefficients (KC) and also quantify the impacts of salt stress on crop water use. The results show that shallow groundwater did not contribute to soil water in the whole rotation; KC values for wheat–maize, wheat–sorghum, and wheat–soybean rotation systems were 45.0, 58.4, and 57% less, respectively, than the FAO values. The water use efficiency of the maize (8.70) and sorghum (9.00) in coastal farmlands was higher than that of the soybean (4.37). By identifying the critical periods of water and salt stress, this paper provides suggestions for water-saving and salinity control in coastal farmlands. Our findings can inform the sustainable development of coastal farmlands and provide new insights to cope with aspects of the global food crisis.