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Runoff reduction by agronomic practices

by Piotr Matczak, Darryn McEvoy, Ilona Banaszak, Adam Chorynski

[other options]

No-tillage and cropping systems can reduce water runoff. Runoff, depending on soil characteristics, can also be delayed by tillage methods combined with plants having a high root density and lush surface cover.
Extreme event: Drought; Floods
Type of option: Management best practice; Technological
Risk management: Risk reduction
Sector: Agriculture; Biodiversity (and nature conservation); Water resources
Landscape type: Rural
Location: Austria; United States
Drivers of change: Socio-economic: Increasing water use, increasing agricultural water consumption.

Policy: Water management leading to overexploitation of supplies of fresh water.
How and who:
Implementation: River basin scale.
Institutional context: Many governments throughout the world subsidize water for agriculture.
Potential barriers: Option involves effects which are temporally and geographically distant. Thus, long term planning is necessary.
Implications for sustainable development:
Implications for sustainable development: Option can reduce soil erosion. However, under certain conditions it can increase salinity.
Most of human activities adversely affect the quality of freshwater resources.
Increases the availability of water for agriculture, improves soil qualities.
knowledge transfer:

Report "Sustainable water use in Europe", European Environmental Agency

Evaluation: In order to evaluate effects of land use change on flood characteristics, location and extend of areas of the dominant runoff process have to be known. Land use change options are effective if there is a fast and intensive runoff generation, but they are much more costly and less effective in areas with delayed runoff generation.
Scientific references:
Meyer, L.D., S.M. Dabney, C.E. Murphree, W.C. Harmon, E.H. Grissinger (1999). Crop production system to control erosion and reduce runoff from upland silty soils, Transactions of the ASAE, 42(6): 1645-1652.

Naef, F., S. Scherrer, M. Weiler (2002). A process based assessment of the potential to reduce flood runoff by land use change, Journal of Hydrology, 267: 74-79.

Pimmentel, D., Houser, J., Preiss, E., White, O., et al. (1997). Water Resources: agriculture, the environment, and society, BioScience, 47(2): 97-106.
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