Agricultural water allocation strategies along the oasis of Tarim River in Northwest China

Yang Yu, Ruide Yu, Xi Chen, Guoan Yu, Miao Gan, Markus Disse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Efficient reallocation of existing water supply is gaining importance as demand grows and competitions among users intensify. In extremely arid regions, where deficit irrigation needs to be applied, management decisions on agricultural water allocation are often onerous tasks due to the confliction among water users. This paper presents a hydrological modeling approach to assist decision-makers and stakeholders to resolve potential water-sharing conflicts among water users. We combine the land use map with water distribution methods to solve the water allocation problems in a large basin scale. The model is tested and applied in three steps: (i) calibration and validation of water supply and demand along the Tarim River with a combined hydrological and groundwater model, (ii) developing climate change scenarios, (iii) optimizing agricultural water allocation for the entire Tarim River Basin for these scenarios and deriving of conclusions. The comprehensive management of farmland areas and water distribution strategies are investigated in the model scenarios. The results of these assessments provide opportunities for substantial improvement on water allocation and water right. The access of a user to use the water efficiently should be guaranteed, especially in the lower reaches of the river in the arid land. In practice, the hydrological model assists on decision-making for water resource management in a large river basin, and incentive to utilize water use in an efficient manner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-36
Number of pages13
JournalAgricultural Water Management
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • Hydrological modeling
  • Spatial distribution
  • Tarim River Basin
  • Water allocation
  • Water deficit


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