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Agroscope, Institute for Sustainability Sciences ISS, Switzerland

Online water-shortage forecasts

Climate change causes the risk of water shortage to increase in regions where intensive agriculture is practised. A model for the Three-Lakes Region (Broye/Seeland) was created as a tool for forecasting critical situations and for the longer-term planning of water use with a view to adapting to climate change. The model allows the resources in natural bodies of water as well as the water requirement of the crops cultivated to be simultaneously calculated and compared at a high temporal resolution and in a spatially explicit manner. The model takes account of the weather, soil properties, and characteristics of the irrigated crops. The current situation and the trend over the following ten days are visualised, and data from past time periods are logged on an Internet platform. Analysis for the past 15 years shows that in dry years like 2015, the irrigation requirement in individual areas of the region of the study exceeds water resources on over 60% of the days. This online information can be used as the basis for short- and long-term courses of action.

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