Assessing the impacts of climate change on dependable flow and potential irrigable area using the SWAT model. The case of Maasin River watershed in Laguna, Philippines

  • Lanie A. Alejo | lhan_1023@yahoo.com College of Engineering, Isabela State University, Echague, Isabela, Philippines.
  • Victor B. Ella University of the Philippines, Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines.

Abstract

Seasonal changes in rainfall and temperature brought about by climate change affect water resources availability for rice production areas. There are currently no published applications of the soil and water assessment tool (SWAT) model on quantified effects of climate variability on irrigation service areas for rice production. The study assessed the impacts of climate change on dependable flow and potential irrigable areas of the Maasin River in Laguna, Philippines. Projected variations of rainfall and temperature in 2020 and 2050 developed using PRECIS model based on special report on emission scenarios were employed. The SWAT model was then used to simulate stream flow for each climate change scenario, from which dependable flows were quantified using flow duration analysis. Diversion water requirements for the rice areas in the watershed were determined using CROPWAT. Based on dependable flows and irrigation demand, the potential irrigable areas were estimated. Calibration and validation of the SWAT model showed satisfactory performance in stream flow simulations. The dependable flow in irrigation systems may decline by more than 50% in 2020 and by as much as 97% in 2050, because of seasonal changes in rainfall. In effect, the potential irrigable area may decrease to less than half of the current service area depending on the level of greenhouse gases emissions. SWAT water balance projections suggest surface runoff during wet seasons and increase annual groundwater recharge are possible sources of supplemental irrigation. Provisions of suitable storage reservoir facilities and groundwater development projects will alleviate water scarce conditions. The study demonstrated a technique that may be applied in other irrigation systems in the Philippines and in other countries to quantify the effects of climate change on dependable flows and potential irrigable areas. It can serve as an input to water resources planning and policy recommendations for climate change adaptation and risk reduction strategies. This technique can also be used to assess water resources in other perennial rivers and its viability for the development of new irrigation systems in the Philippines.

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Published
2019-06-05
Section
Original Articles
Keywords:
Climate change, potential irrigable area, SWAT.
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How to Cite
Alejo, L. A., & Ella, V. B. (2019). Assessing the impacts of climate change on dependable flow and potential irrigable area using the SWAT model. The case of Maasin River watershed in Laguna, Philippines. Journal of Agricultural Engineering, 50(2), 88-98. https://doi.org/10.4081/jae.2018.941