Agriculture is the second largest water consumer in the Phoenix Metropolitan region, after the municipal sector. A significant portion of the cultivated land and agricultural water demand is from the production of animal feed, including alfalfa (~69% of total cropland area), corn (~8), and sorghum (-3%), which are both exported and needed to support local dairy industry. The goal of this thesis is to evaluate the impacts on water demand and crop production of four different crop portfolios using alfalfa, corn, sorghum, and feed barley. For this aim, the Water Evaluation And Planning (WEAP) platform and the embedded MABIA agronomic module are applied to the Phoenix Active Management Area (AMA), a political/hydrological region including most of Phoenix Metro. The simulations indicate that the most efficient solution is a portfolio where all study crop production is made up by sorghum, with an increase of 153% in crop yield and a reduction of 60% of water consumption compared to current conditions. In contrast, a portfolio where all study crop production is made up by alfalfa, which is primary crop grown in current conditions, decreased crop yield by 77% and increases water demand by 105%. Solutions where all study crop production is achieved with corn or feed barley lead to a reduction of 77% and 65% of each respective water demand, with a portfolio of all corn for study crop production increasing crop yield by 245% and a portfolio of all feed barley for study crop production reducing crop yield by 29%.
- Impacts of new crop portfolios on water consumption in Maricopa County
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