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Title: Water usage in the Maltese agricultural sector : a study analysing groundwater irrigation in the island of Gozo
Authors: Magrin, Christian
Keywords: Agriculture -- Malta
Irrigation -- Malta
Groundwater -- Malta
Aquifers -- Malta
Issue Date: 2017
Abstract: Water is critical for the agricultural sector and worldwide food provision. It has proved to be the most important factor for both animal husbandry and crop production. Rainfall sustains the majority of crop production but other water sources are used when crop water requirements are not fully met by rainwater. While a number of different water sources are used for irrigation, groundwater is the most used resource worldwide (GWP, 2012). Groundwater use for irrigation developed over the last half a century with technology advancements aiding this development. It led to large scale farming across the globe and consequently improved food security, increased production and served as an economic incentive to farmers. This research posits ‘accessibility and availability of groundwater’ as the most attractive driver for the use of groundwater for irrigation. On the other hand rainfall inconsistency is the most determining factor which forces farmers to seek water. The exploitation of groundwater resources is noted in places with arid characteristics. The over-reliance on groundwater in Malta is reflected in national official statistics. In this research a series of meter readings, reflecting actual groundwater usage showed there is a substantial use of this resource although data varied from national statistics. The reason for the variance between the two sets of data is due primarily to modelled national groundwater usage data. Groundwater usage data based on actual use is still to be compiled from water meters which have only been installed in recent years. Alternative water sources and the implementation of irrigation management strategies are the best methods to reduce damage on groundwater while ensuring that water for irrigation is being used sustainably. Alternative water sources include the ‘new water’ that is still being developed in Malta and stored rainwater. The most ideal irrigation management strategy involves the use of irrigation methods which are water saving.
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - InsCCSD - 2017

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