Author(s): V. Odongo; M. Mazzoleni; G. Di Baldassarre
Keywords: Irrigation efficiency paradox; Agricultural rebound effect; Water savings; Irrigation technologies
Abstract: Improving water use efficiency in agriculture is usually seen as an opportunity for large water savings. However, concerns have been raised that these strategies always do not translate to reduced consumption leading to rebound effect or Jevons paradox (Jevons, 1865). In agriculture, it arises when the total water consumptive use for crop production increases with improved irrigation efficiency due to (i) Hydrological mechanism where increased efficiency causing water consumption to increase along with increased crop yield by matching crop water needs linearly (ii) Economical mechanism where farmers adjust their behavioural response to improved efficiency by either switching to more water consuming crops or expanding their crop area (Contour and Taylor, 2013, Gomez and Perez-Blanco, 2014) Figure 1 illustrates how the irrigation efficiency paradox unravels as irrigation technology improves and farmers changing behaviour.