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Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 135 (2010) 5869

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Climate change, water availability and future cereal production in China

Wei Xiong a,b,*, Ian Holman c, Erda Lin a,b, Declan Conway d, Jinhe Jiang e, Yinlong Xu a,b, Yan Li f

Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development in Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, China The Key Laboratory for Agro-environment & Climate Change, Ministry of Agriculture, Beijing 100081, China c Natural Resources Department, Craneld University, Bedfordshire MK43 0AL, United Kingdom d University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, United Kingdom e Institute of Quantitative and Technical Economics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing 100732, China f Water Resources Information Center, The Ministry of Water Resources of The Peoples Republic of China, Beijing 100053, China



Article history: Received 25 September 2008 Received in revised form 17 August 2009 Accepted 21 August 2009 Available online 10 September 2009 Keywords: Climate change Water availability Irrigation Scenarios Integration

Climate scenarios from a regional climate model are used to drive crop and water simulation models underpinned by the IPCC A2 and B2 socio-economic development pathways to explore water availability for agriculture in China in the 2020s and 2040s. Various measures of water availability are examined at river basin and provincial scale in relation to agricultural and non-agricultural water demand and current and planned expansions to the area under irrigation. The objectives are to understand the inuences of different drivers on future water availability to support Chinas food production. Hydrological simulations produce moderate to large increases in total water availability in response to increases in future precipitation. Total water demand increases nationally and in most basins, but with a decreasing share for agriculture due primarily to competition from industrial, domestic and municipal sectors. Crop simulations exhibit moderate to large increases in irrigation water demand which is found to be highly sensitive to the characteristics of daily precipitation in the climate scenarios. The impacts of climate change on water availability for agriculture are small compared to the role of socio-economic development. The study identies signicant spatial differences in impacts at the river basin and provincial level. In broad terms water availability for agriculture declines in southern China and remains stable in northern China. The combined impacts of climate change and socio-economic development produce decreases in future irrigation areas, especially the area of irrigated paddy rice. Overall, the results suggest that there will be insufcient water for agriculture in China in the coming decades, due primarily to increases in water demand for non-agricultural uses, which will have signicant implications for adaptation strategies and policies for agricultural production and water management. 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction Irrigated agriculture is the primary consumer of water and accounts for over 70% of total water use. More than 75% of Chinas grain production is from irrigated land. Irrigation plays an important role in food security and poverty alleviation in China. Water stress is already affecting Chinas grain production, particularly in the northern parts of the country (Li, 2006). Climate change, population growth, and economic development will affect the future availability of water resources for agriculture, with differing impacts in different regions. The demand for and supply of water for irrigation will not only be inuenced by changing

* Corresponding author at: Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development in Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, China. Tel.: +86 10 82105985; fax: +86 10 82105985. E-mail address: (W. Xiong). 0167-8809/$ see front matter 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2009.08.015

hydrological regimes (through changes in precipitation, potential and actual evaporation, and runoff at the watershed and river basin scales), but also by concomitant increases in future competition for water with non-agricultural users (Rosenzweig et al., 2004). There has been limited research on the coupled impacts of climate change and socio-economic development on agricultural production and water availability in China (Tao et al., 2003; Rosenzweig et al., 2004; Yuan et al., 2005; Xiong et al., 2009). This paper aims to improve the understanding of how changes in crop water demand and water availability due to climate change will interact with other socio-economic pressures out to 2050. Results are presented for two periods, 20112030 (the 2020s) and 2031 2050 (the 2040s). We use the framework introduced in Xiong et al. (2009) which integrates several of the important challenges by linking socio-economic scenarios (SES), climate change scenarios, detailed simulation of impacts on cereal irrigation demand (for wheat, maize, and rice, Chinas main staple cereals) and water availability. We explore in detail the spatial variation in water

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availability and demand by river basin and province. The objectives are to understand the inuences of different drivers on future water availability to support Chinas food production and to identify key vulnerabilities in the system and potential adaptation strategies. 2. Method 2.1. Climate change scenarios for China Regional climate scenarios were generated by Xu (2004) and Zhang et al. (2006) using a high resolution (50 km 50 km) atmospheric regional model (PRECIS Providing Regional Climates for Impacts Studies; Jones et al., 2004). PRECIS takes the output of the global model HadAM3H at its lateral boundaries, and thereby inherits the large-scale characteristics of HadAM3H. Validation of PRECIS performance in simulating Chinas climate is described in Xu et al. (2007). PRECIS simulated future daily values of temperature, radiation, and precipitation from 2011 to 2100 for the A2 and B2 emission scenarios (Table 1). A2 represents mediumhigh emissions and B2 mediumlow, and together they encompass a wide range of future emissions pathways (Nakicenovic and Swart, 2000). 2.2. Socio-economic scenarios for China It is important to explore how society and the economy will change over the coming decades, and how this will alter the impacts of climate change (Holman et al., 2005). To be consistent with the PRECIS climate scenarios, we developed socio-economic scenarios (SES) for A2 and B2 out to 2050, using original projections in IPCC SRES and downscaling methods of Gafn et al. (2004). The IPCC SRES B2 storyline ts with the current national plan of social and economic development over the medium to long term in China, and is selected here as an optimistic or desired socio-economic scenario. A2 represents the upper range of likely CO2 emissions under the development of business as usual, and is chosen to represent an environmentally pessimistic pathway. Based on the relevant SRES GDP and population projections we changed the base year from 1990 to 2005 according to current statistical data (2006 China Statistical Year Book) and assumed a simple linear relationship between the global and country scale data. National annual population and GDP growth rates were set equal to the SRES rates for southeastern Asia. Scenarios of future unconstrained water demand (T) in the absence of climate change for each Province were developed for four sectors; agricultural (AW), industrial (IW), domestic (DW), and municipal (MW), based on recent trends in water use, other research and expert judgment. Irrigation water use in all provinces is projected to decrease based on the assumption of technology and management improvements, and continuous implementation of water sector reform. For the IW and DW, the per capita water consumption was based on economic development, technological advances and changes in urbanization level. Gross industry

demands were considered in IW, which neglected the large proportion of recycling water and water returned to the water resource system (here, we assumed that these components of the water resources are not used by agriculture due to their relatively higher cost and compromised quality). Because local governments in China are slowly paying more attention to environmental protection, the water demand for the environment (referred to the municipal sector) was assumed to increase. For future agricultural land use we derived baseline relationships between provincial GDP and observed change in arable land area, using the hypothesis that urbanization and industrial growth are the main drivers of arable land conversion in China (Yang and Li, 2000). For A2 the future rate of change was assumed consistent with the recent trend (between 1990 and 2005). For B2 the area of arable land was kept equal to the desired area in the national programme. Table 2 lists the main results from the socio-economic scenarios. Overall there is a net conversion of arable land and increase in water demand, accompanied by a shift in the proportional use of water by sector, primarily away from agriculture in response to greater demand from other sectors. 2.3. Models and simulation 2.3.1. CERES models and simulation of crop irrigation demand The CERES crop simulation models (Ritchie et al., 1989) for rice, maize and wheat have been modied to simulate irrigation requirements across China at the 50 km 50 km grid scale (Fig. 1, of which 2262 or 60% grids are identied as agricultural land). The crop models used in this study are included in the DSSAT4.0.2 (Jones et al., 2003) modelling system. They can simulate the effects of the main environmental factors, such as weather and soil characteristics, together with the effects of crop management on crop growth, development, and yield (Ritchie et al., 1998). The results presented here are based on improved calibration and validation of the crop models for China presented in Xiong et al. (2008a,b). The detailed methodology is described in Xiong et al. (2007a,b). Daily PRECIS output of maximum and minimum temperature, precipitation and solar radiation are used to drive the crop simulation models for all agricultural grid cells for a baseline period (19611990) and from 2011 to 2050 under A2 and B2. For irrigation requirements, under the assumption that the necessary water is available, the simulations apply irrigation in the amount demanded throughout the growing season. Irrigation is triggered by soil moisture decits in the soil root zone, namely, water is applied when the soil water content is lower than 80% of saturation till saturation, with an irrigation efciency (which here denotes the proportion of water abstracted that contributes to plant evapotranspiration, irrigation losses returned to the basin through runoff, seepage, inltration, and non-benecial evaporation as ecological water) of 0.6 for wheat and maize and 0.3 for rice. This approach allowed us to determine the optimum amount of water for each crop in each grid under the climate change scenarios.

Table 1 Average change in surface air temperature, precipitation, and radiation under SRES A2 and B2 scenarios over China simulated by the regional climate model PRECIS. Periods A2 (Mid-high emissions) Temperature change (8C) BS (19611990) 2020s (20112040) 2050s (20412070) +1.3 +2.6 Rainfall change (%) +5 +10 Radiation change (%) +0.5 +0.7 CO2 (ppm) 334 440 599 B2 (Mid-low emissions) Temperature change (8C) +1.5 +2.4 Rainfall change (%) +4 +6 Radiation change (%) +0.5 +0.7 CO2 (ppm) 334 429 492

Changes are relative to a baseline (19611990). Corresponding CO2 concentrations also shown.


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Table 2 China: population and GDP projections in the two SES, plus the general characteristics of the scenarios. 2000 2005 A2 2020 GDP (100 M RMB at comparable price in 2000) Pop. (billion persons) GDP per capita (USD in 2000, 100USD = 828RMB) Water demand (Gm3/year) AW IW DW MW Arable land (1000 ha) Characteristics 99,200 1.27 950 550 378 114 58 0 128,250 156,000 1.31 1,700 563 362 131 69 1 121,500 2050 B2 2020 2050

301,000 837,000 1.53 1.94 2400 5200 616 747 329 290 173 262 96 158 18 37 113,950 107,700 Rapid regional economic growth, materialist; low GDP growth rate; high population growth; rapid decrease of arable land; and rapid growth of water demand.

481,000 1,450,000 1.44 1.51 4050 11,650 619 691 341 308 166 214 93 129 19 40 121,500 117,550 Local emphasis and environmental priority; moderate GDP growth rate and population growth; conservation of arable land; and steady growth of water demand.

Figures are rounded to nearest thousand (50 for per capita GDP).

Fig. 1. Main river basins and sub-basins of China and simulation resolution (50 km 50 km).

2.3.2. The VIC hydrological model The Variable Inltration Capacity (VIC) hydrologic model was used in this study to simulate water yield (surface ow + groundwater ow + lateral ow loss from evapotranspiration) for the whole of China. VIC (version, VIC-3L) (Liang et al., 1994, 1996) is a distributed, physically based hydrologic model that balances surface energy and water over a grid cell. VIC has been successfully applied to assess the impacts of climate change (Christensen et al., 2004; Wood et al., 2004; Vicuna et al., 2007). For this study, we ran the model at 50 km 50 km grid resolution over China. The main data inputs required by VIC are vegetation, soil and weather data and we used a similar procedure as Su and Xie (2003) and Xie et al. (2004) to generate the inputs. Previous studies have validated VIC simulations of runoff for the whole of China and streamow simulation in some catchments (e.g. Su and Xie, 2003). In order to improve the robustness of the model application, six parameters of the VIC model (the inltration parameter, the thicknesses of rst and second soil layers and three base ow related parametersthe maximum subsurface ow, the fraction of maximum subsurface ow in the second soil layer, and the faction of maximum soil moisture in the second layer) were

calibrated for 60 catchments (covering 39% of Chinas territory) to minimize the difference between the simulated and observed daily water balances. For catchments without observed streamow data, the parameters were used from the nearest neighbour based on polygon centroids. The annual renewable internal water resources (WRI) were assumed to be the annual water yield in the baseline, A2 and B2 VIC simulation, for which time series have been estimated for each of the 10 main river basins (Fig. 1) in China as function (1) WRI j
n X Y k Ak 103 k1


where WRIj is the renewable internal water resources for j river basin in a given year (m3), Yk is the annual water yield for grid k (mm), and Ak is the area of that grid falling in j basin (km2). 2.3.3. Calculating water availability for agriculture For any river basin, the total water availability (TWA) is the product of its WRI and a water exploitation ratio (R). R is an estimate of the proportion of the WRI that can be withdrawn from

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the basin, which depends on the seasonal distribution of precipitation, water accessibility, water storage capacity, and water management efciency. The total amount of water available for agriculture (WAAi) in province i was calculated as (2) 0 1   n X AW i WAAi @ WRI j R j P i j A Ti j1

3. Results 3.1. Impacts of socio-economic development 3.1.1. Simulated baseline irrigated area and irrigation water requirements (current climate and socio-economic condition) In the baseline climate, the simulated mean values of WRI (renewable internal water resources) and TWA (total water availability), and the scenario value of WAA (water available for agriculture) are 2684, 541, and 403 Gm3/year, respectively, which are in good agreement with the mean statistics for 19972004 (ECCWRB, 2008) (Table 3). This simulation was based on a combination of the simulated WRI for 19611990 (from VIC) and basin scale statistical data of 19972004 (water withdrawal ratio and the proportion of water consumption by each sector from ECCWRB). Because the simulation does not take account of the water transfers between basins, for example water is transferred from the Yellow to Huai He, from the Yangzte to Hai He, etc., the simulation does not match the measured statistics in several basins (e.g. Hai He, Yellow, and Huai He), particularly the results of TWA and WAA. The scenario agricultural share (%) of water availability in the whole of China was 74.4%, with eight basins having shares greater than 74%, and four (e.g. C, D, E, J) greater than 90%. By assuming the maximum irrigation area and irrigation practices as in 2000, the simulated total irrigation demand by the three cereal crops with the baseline climate is 334 Gm3, which is smaller than the scenario agricultural water availability. This suggests that the remaining water (around 69 Gm3) is used for other agricultural purposes, such as irrigating cash crops, livestock, etc. The recorded total irrigated area (which includes cash crops) in 2000 was 53.1 Mha, nearly 34% of the total cultivated land (FAOSTAT), with the largest share for paddy rice cultivation (about 44%, or 30.3 Mha in 2000) in southern and northeastern China. The irrigated area for wheat and maize is seldom recorded by census data due to data availability and differing irrigation practices (e.g. ood irrigation, decit irrigation, water saving irrigation, etc.), but here we estimate it might vary between 7 and 14 Mha depending on the water availability, marketing, policy, water saving techniques, etc. (based on the estimation of Wu et al., 2006, and county level census data). By using the methodology previously described, the simulated average irrigated area for the three cereal crops with the baseline climate is 39.6 Mha, about 75% of the total irrigation land, with 29.9 Mha for paddy rice, and 10.6 Mha for wheat and maize, which agrees well with current FAOSTAT statistics, particularly for the rice area. Because we assumed that full irrigation is applied to wheat and maize which differs from the usual decit irrigation practices, the simulated baseline irrigation area of wheat and maize may be underestimated. 3.1.2. Projected future water demand by agriculture in the absence of climate change Table 4 shows the projected annual total water demand (TWD), agricultural water demand (AWD) and irrigation land, from the socio-economic scenarios (only data for 2020 and 2050 are shown, linear interpolation for other years). The TWD increases nationally and in most basins, but with a decreasing share for agriculture due primarily to competition from industrial, domestic and municipal sectors. By 2050, the projected TWD is 7161 Gm3 (A2) and 6247 Gm3 (B2), increases of 30.2% and 13.6%, respectively, compared to the baseline. Because of the improved irrigation efciency and agricultural land conversion, projected AWD decreases differentially for all basins, particularly in 2050, due to the different spatial patterns of economic activities and agricultural technology level. The biggest decrease in the


where Rj is the water exploitation ratio in basin j (as given by the average value of the observed exploitation ratio for each basin from 1994 to 2005 which is assumed to remain constant in the future), Pij represents the proportion of water used in province i that comes from basin j (based on the average value from historical data for 19942005), AWi is the projected unconstrained agricultural water demand of province i, Ti is the projected unconstrained total water demand of province i. Eq. (2) assumes that, for any province, the projected water available for agriculture comes from basins which the province lies within. The water available for agriculture represents how much of the total available water is allocated for agricultural use. We assumed that there is a water conveyance system and a distribution method to apply irrigation water, and that irrigation water is geographically distributed across grids in each province, based on the area of irrigated crops in the grid expressed as a proportion of the provincial irrigated area (using data from 2000). For any given grid k in i province, the Available Irrigation Water, AIWk is computed as (3) AIW k WAAi   IAk IAi (3)

where IAk is the irrigation area in grid k and IAi is total irrigation area in i province. 2.3.4. Calculation of irrigation area Because most of the rice planted in China is paddy rice, and irrigation is the determinant for rice growth, we assumed that rice has the highest priority for water withdrawal, with the objective of irrigating as much of the present area of rice in a grid square as the available irrigation water (AIWk) permits. Any remaining water was assumed to be available for maize and wheat, with application depending on their present areas. We calculated the total potential irrigation demand of crops (rice: PIDk_rice, wheat: PIDk_wheat, maize: PIDk_maize) for any grid k as [simulated irrigation amount irrigated acreage in 2000], and compared with the available irrigation water (AIWk). In grid k, if AIWk  PIDk_rice, irrigated rice area (IRk) = AIWk/(PIDk_rice/RAk), where RAk is the rice area in 2000, and the irrigated wheat (IWk) and maize areas (IMk) equal 0; if AIWk > PIDk_rice, then the rice area equals the area in 2000, and IWk, IMk are calculated as (4) and (5), respectively. IW k AIW k PIDk rice WAk =WAk MAk PIDk wheat=IWAk AIW k PIDk rice MAk =WAk MAk PIDk maize=IMAk (4)

IM k


where WAk, MAk are the wheat and maize area (irrigated + rainfed) of k grid in 2000, IWAk, IMAk are the irrigated areas of wheat and maize, respectively, in 2000, which equal the WAk and MAk, respectively, multiplied by the irrigation index (the area equipped for irrigation as % of sown area, with the area of paddy rice cultivation excluded in the calculation) of that grid. The remaining agricultural land in specic grid cells was assumed to be in dryland production.


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Table 3 Simulated vs. observed renewable average internal water resources (WRI, Gm3 year), total water availability (TWA, Gm3 year), and water available for agriculture (WAA, Gm3 year) for basins. Basins 2000 (unit: Mha) Sown area Helong Jiang (A) Liao He (B) Hai He (C) Yellow (D) Huai He (E) Yangzte (F) Southeastern Rivers (G) Pearl (H) Southwestern Rivers (J) Inland (K) Whole China 15.1 5.3 12.7 17.4 22.7 53.7 5.5 15.0 3.3 5.8 156.5 Irrig. land 3.6 1.9 6.2 5.5 8.9 16.2 1.9 3.5 1.0 4.4 53.1 WRI (Gm3/year) Obs. 168.8 25.1 59.9 96.5 1028.4 205.6 490.2 584.7 146.4 2806 Sim. 145.0 37.2 28.5 85.8 66.6 922.0 242.8 361.8 604.0 157.0 2684.2 TWA (Gm3/year) Obs. 58.8 40.3 38.8 57.8 172.3 28.5 84.1 9.5 57.1 547.2 Sim. 46.5 25.9 25.5 57.3 39.3 171.5 36.1 64.0 8.3 66.6 541.0 WAA (Gm3/year) Obs. 41.9 28.7 29.8 41.4 98.4 18.6 56.3 8.0 53.4 376.5 Sim. 36.2 19.9 24.5 52.5 38.9 93.5 27.2 52.8 7.8 49.2 402.5

WRI: renewable internal water resources; TWA: total water availability; WAA: water available for agriculture; Obs.: ECCWRB statistics on average 19972004; Sim.: simulated average with baseline climate (19611990).

Table 4 Projection of water demand and irrigation area due to socio-economic change, in absence of climate change. Basins TWDbs (Gm3/year) AWDbs (Gm3/year) Irrig. Landbs (Mha) TWD (Gm3/year) 2020 A2 Heilong Jiang LiaoHe HaiHe and LuanHe Yellow Huai He Yangtze Southeastern Pearl Southwestern Inner Basins Total 40.9 20.9 39.8 39.1 55.1 172.5 31.1 82.5 9.9 57.9 549.8 27.8 14.3 28.1 30.2 38.8 102.2 18.9 55.4 8.4 54.3 378.4 1.2 1.4 7.1 6.6 7.9 16.9 4.7 9.3 0.8 3.2 59.2 43.3 18.9 42.2 43.8 56.7 206.1 48.1 76.2 9.2 62.7 607.3 B2 41.6 17.9 41.5 43.1 54.9 199.8 47.6 75.8 9.2 62.2 593.6 2050 A2 55.5 22.4 48.4 47.1 70.0 257.7 56.9 83.0 9.6 65.6 716.1 B2 48.7 18.6 42.8 42.1 59.3 216.9 49.9 74.0 8.7 63.8 624.7 AWD (Gm3/year) 2020 A2 26.4 10.7 24.3 28.1 25.4 88.7 21.0 41.0 6.3 52.5 324.5 B2 26.1 10.7 24.5 28.3 25.6 89.6 21.3 41.6 6.4 52.0 326.0 2050 A2 27.1 8.6 20.6 21.9 22.2 74.4 17.7 33.1 5.1 47.0 277.7 B2 26.9 8.7 20.8 22.1 22.4 75.2 17.9 33.6 5.1 46.6 279.2 Irrig. Land (Mha) 2020 A2 1.3 1.5 7.8 7.3 8.4 17.0 4.7 9.3 0.8 3.5 61.6 B2 1.3 1.5 7.4 7.0 8.2 16.9 4.7 9.3 0.8 3.4 60.4 2050 A2 1.3 1.7 9.0 8.5 9.3 17.1 4.7 9.3 0.8 4.1 65.8 B2 1.3 1.5 8.0 7.5 8.6 17.0 4.7 9.3 0.8 3.6 62.3

TWD: total water demand; AWD: agricultural water demand; bs. average value with baseline climate (19612000).

agricultural water share occurs in Huai He (42.8% in 2050 with A2), and the smallest in Heiliong Jiang (2.5% in 2050 with A2). Irrigation is one of the primary adaptation options to secure Chinas future food supply, with a national goal to increase the irrigated land share of the total sown area by 1015% in the near future. Therefore annual increases of 0.5% and 0.25% for the period of 20002050 were identied for the irrigation index, under A2 and B2, respectively. We assumed the same rice sown area as 2000 providing that there is enough water in the future. By 2050, the projected irrigated sown area for the A2 scenario is 65.8 Mha, or 42.0% of the sown area of 2000, and B2 with 62.3 Mha, or 39.8%. These correspond to an increase of 4.2% and 2.0% from 2000 levels, or an addition of 6.6 and 3.1 Mha, respectively, with A2 and B2 in 2050. Of the additional irrigated land, except the unchanged paddy rice area, almost 60% is reserved for crops of wheat and maize (based on keeping the same sowing pattern as present). 3.2. Impacts of climate change 3.2.1. Total water supply Fig. 2 shows the changes in WRI and WAA in the future due exclusively to climate change. In order to exclude the impacts of climate variability, the results are presented as a mean for the near term future (2020s) and the middle term future (2040s). Water is generally scarce in the northern part of China so we present the results for northern and southern China separately in Fig. 2. National WRI increases under both climate scenarios, with +8.8% (2020s) and +6.1% (2040s) under the A2 scenario, and corresponding values of +9.3% and 6.2% under B2. The increase can primarily

be attributed to an increase in precipitation, particularly in the 2020s. With continuous warming, the increase in WRI slows by the 2040s. This increase in WRI occurs in all basins during the 2020s except basin J, where WRI decreases by nearly 30% under both climate scenarios. The biggest increase of WRI during the 2020s is in basin B (+23.6% under A2, and +24.0% under B2). Smaller increases of WRI occur during the 2040s in most basins, with the exceptions of basins D, E, K, and J. The inter-annual variability of WRI increases overall and in all basins (as indicated by the standard deviation of annual WRI), particularly during the 2020s. The TWA increases in all basins and the whole China (+19.2% (A2) and +19.8% (B2) for the 2020s, and +18.6% (A2) and +18.7% (B2) for the 2040s). The changes in TWA are proportional to the changes of WRI, because we assumed constant water exploitation ratios for the future. 3.2.2. Potential irrigation demand by cereals Future potential irrigation demand by cereal crops is presented in Fig. 3. Initially, neglecting CO2 fertilization effects, the potential total irrigation demand of the three crops increases remarkably under A2 (+49% and +45% for the 2020s and 2040s, respectively) and slightly under B2 (+3%, +1%, respectively). Incorporating the effects of increased CO2 concentration on crop water requirement leads to a 59% offset (decrease) in total potential water demand, producing overall increases of 44% (2020s) and 36% (2040s) under A2, and slight decreases of 0.1% (2020s) and 5% (2040s) in irrigation demand under B2. Given its contribution to Chinas food supply, rice consumes 79% of total baseline potential water demand by the three grain

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and an increased irrigation water saving by maize (with additional saving of water of 46% under both A2 and B2). Fig. 4 shows the spatial patterns of changes in potential irrigation demand of cereal crops (2040s), assuming the same irrigation areas and irrigation management practices as 2000, and with CO2 fertilization. The difference between the climate change scenarios is obvious, in both the spatial pattern and magnitude of change. B2 produces smaller changes in potential irrigation demand, with decreases in irrigation demand in most areas except parts of northern China. A2 leads to a greater increase in irrigation demand in most of southern and southeastern China, moderate increases in northeastern and northwestern China, and decreases in northern China. Although only one climate model was used in this study, these contrasting results suggest that future irrigated agricultural impacts result not only from the changes in mean climate, but also from the detailed changes in climate, such as the patterns of daily precipitation. 3.3. Interactions of climate change and socio-economic development for the agricultural water supplydemand balance 3.3.1. Water availability for agriculture Fig. 5 shows the changes (from the baseline) in TWA (total water availability), water available for agriculture (WAA) (after allowing for increases in demand from other sectors), and potential total irrigation water requirements for cereals (incorporating changes due to climate change and CO2 fertilization). Any water remaining after satisfying the cereal demand, which is the difference between WAA and potential total irrigation water requirement for cereals in Fig. 5, is used for other agricultural purposes, for example, cash crops, livelihoods, etc. Results from the simulations with VIC show an overall increase in WRI in the future of around 10% as precipitation increases offset greater losses to evapotranspiration, which consequently leads to an increase in TWA. However, due to increases in demand in other sectors (domestic, environmental and industrial) captured in the SES, the water available for agriculture decreases dramatically under A2 by 5% (2020s) and 21% (2040s), and by 3% and 16%, respectively under B2. With B2, water availability for agriculture is sufcient in the 2020s although there are signicant decreases in water availability for other agricultural purposes. Under A2, the water availability is insufcient to satisfy even the irrigation demand for the cereal crops, leaving no water available for other agriculture purposes in the 2020s and 2040s: as potential decits of 21 and 82 Gm3 emerge for irrigation demand for cereal production, respectively. Water available for agriculture (WAA) by province for the 2040s is shown in Fig. 6 (CO2 fertilization are included). TWA increases in most provinces, but this increased supply is counteracted by rising demand from other sectors, which leads to deceasing agricultural water for most provinces. WAA is insufcient to meet the simulated cereal irrigation demand in 21 and 17 provinces, respectively, under A2 and B2, out of 31 provinces. This future shortage of water for cereals is prevalent in the current main agricultural provinces, particularly in southern China and the Yangtze River basin which are the traditional rice producing areas. 3.3.2. Changes in irrigation area Fig. 7 shows changes in the area of irrigated land after irrigation is limited according to future water availability for agriculture. In this estimation, the available water is assumed to rst meet the irrigation demand of the present cereal production area. Paddy rice shows a large decrease with A2 (with 9.6 and 12 Mha for the 2020s, and 2040s, respectively, without CO2 fertilization, and 9.2, 11.2 Mha, with CO2 fertilization), and a moderate decrease with

Fig. 2. Changes in renewable internal water resources (WRI) and total water availability (TWA) in Chinas 10 main river basins due to climate change.

Fig. 3. Changes in mean total potential irrigation demand of cereal crops due to climate change. BS = baseline simulation 19611990. Estimates based on current (2000) cultivation areas and maximum irrigated area. The left lighter shaded column represents results with CO2 fertilization effects and the right shade column results without.

crops. The proportion of water demanded by rice is projected to increase, because of signicant increases in the projected water demand by rice under A2 (+62% for the 2020s above the baseline, and +58% for the 2040s), and moderate increases under B2 (5% and 2% for the 2020s, and the 2040s, respectively). Wheat and maize are prevailingly planted in rainfed conditions, particularly in southeastern and northeastern China, so that they consume generally smaller amounts of irrigation water, with 6% (wheat) and 15% (maize) of the total water demand of the three cereal crops. Simulated potential irrigation demand of wheat moderately increases under A2 (13% for the 2020s, and 17% for the 2040s), and slightly increases under B2 (4% and 6% for the 2020s, and 2040s, respectively), whereas potential water demand is predicted to decline for maize under both A2 (6% and 15% for the 2020s, and the 2040s, respectively) and B2 (8% and 10%, respectively). Increased water efciency caused by higher CO2 concentrations tends to reduce the water demand, leading to an offset of the increased demand by rice (of 59% under A2, and 35% under B2) and wheat (of 715% and 711% under A2 and B2, respectively),


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Fig. 4. Percent changes in potential irrigation demand of cereal crops for the 2040s due to climate change (with CO2 fertilization effects).

Fig. 5. Changes (from baseline to future) in total water availability (TWA), water available for agriculture (WAA), and potential irrigation requirements by cereal crops (the middle column of each cluster indicates the results with CO2 fertilization effects, and the right without).

B2 (3.4 and 6.1 Mha for the 2020s and 2040s, respectively, without CO2, and 2.7, 5.1 Mha, with CO2). Most paddy rice in China is located in southern, southeastern, and northeastern areas where, except for northeastern China, the actual area of cultivated paddy has declined during 19802000 (Tong et al., 2003). The projections assume that rice is fully irrigated and only ood-irrigated paddy rice is planted in China. Decreasing water availability exacerbates the ongoing decline in paddy rice area in the future, particularly under the A2. The change in area of paddy rice is not spatially even across regions because of the uneven distribution of water supply and demand between regions. The decline is most signicant under A2 in the southern part of China (Fig. 8). Changes in the area of irrigated wheat/maize are generally quite small, with 0.3 Mha (2020s) and 1.0 Mha for (2040s) under A2, and 0.6 and 1.7 Mha, respectively for B2. These effects are reduced with the inclusion of CO2 fertilization effects (+0.1 Mha for

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Fig. 6. Agricultural water availability for each province for the 2040s under A2, B2 and present (BS) (unit: Gm3).

2020s, and 0.5 Mha for 2040s with A2, and 0.3 and 1.4 Mha, respectively with B2). Most declines in irrigated wheat or maize area are located in northern and southwestern China (Fig. 8). Because most of the irrigated areas of wheat and maize are located in the northern part of China, where water scarcity is already a big issue, the increased water use efciency caused by higher CO2 concentrations could potentially reduce irrigation demand and offset the water shortage for agriculture to some extent in these areas. 3.4. National plans to expand irrigation in relation to future water availability In order to feed the increasing population from her shrinking arable land, China has proposed an adaptation strategy of

increasing food production through irrigated agriculture (You, 2001). An increase of the irrigation area is one of the policy goals, and has been estimated for the future in Table 4. However, agricultural water availability limits expansion in irrigation area as shown in Fig. 9, expressed as the difference between the desired annual irrigation areas (from Table 4) and the simulated irrigation areas (see Section 3.3.2). By 2050, in the absence of climate change, the shortfall in irrigation area is estimated at 27, and 15 Mha, respectively, for the A2 and B2 socio-economic development pathways. A2 produces a greater shortfall than B2, because of its larger increases in population and non-agricultural demands for water and land. Climate change adjusts the estimated shortfall by 5.7 to +5.8 Mha annually, depending on the climate change scenario and timeslice. The two climate change scenarios project a similar increase in


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Fig. 7. Change in the annual irrigated area separated into paddy rice area and other irrigated land (wheat/maize); due to changes in future agricultural water availability. The upper and lower hinge of the box indicates the 75th percentile and 25th percentile of the data set, respectively. The line in the box indicates the median value of the data set. The ends of the vertical lines indicate the minimum and maximum values.

water resources and total water availability, however, the interactions of climate change and socio-economic scenarios produce contrasting results for A2 and B2. A2 generally increases the shortfall in irrigation area by an average of +17%, while B2 reduces the shortfall by an average of 28%. Increasing CO2 concentrations increase the water use efciency and offset the increases in irrigation water demand, with a resultant decrease in the shortfall in irrigation area on average of 30% (B2) and 4% (A2), respectively (Fig. 9). 4. Discussion The study has addressed the integrated impacts of climate change and socio-economic development on water availability for agriculture in China. The work aims to highlight vulnerable areas in terms of future agricultural water balance and inform the identication of future adaptation strategies related to water management to support food production. In the absence of climate change, future socio-economic developments may have signicant impacts on national total water demand (TWD), the structure of water requirements by sector, and the availability of water for agriculture. Socioeconomic development following the A2 pathway leads to a 11% increase in the 2020s, and a 30% increase in the 2040s (B2 produces smaller increases). However, due to increasing competition for water from other non-agricultural uses, these increases in TWDs convert to decreases of AWW, with a decrease of about 14% in the 2020s, and 26% in the 2040s, for both A2 and B2. Climate change may signicantly impact total water availability through increases in renewable internal water resources and crop irrigation demand, but these impacts are inevitably uncertain due to the uncertainties of the climate models. As different climate models simulate different responses to emissions of greenhouse gases (particularly the response of precipitation), Xiong et al. (2009) compared PRECIS results with those of 17 other climate models and suggested that PRECIS produces warming similar to the all-model average for China, but predicts wetter conditions than the all-model average. This implies that the

projected effects on water availability and irrigation demand caused by climate change might be optimistic. Future cereal irrigation demand is highly sensitive to the daily precipitation characteristics. A2 and B2 PRECIS climate scenarios produced similar increases (1820%) in TWA for the 2020s and 2040s. However, differences in daily precipitation characteristics and temperature anomalies between the two climate scenarios produce signicant differences in simulated irrigation demand; large increases under A2 (increases of +49% 2020s and +45% 2040s) and small increases with B2 (+3% and +1%, respectively). Analysis of daily precipitation characteristics shows that A2 has more intense precipitation events which result in more runoff, while B2 has more wet days which decreases the number of irrigation applications. Different spatial pattern of change in irrigation demand also occur between the two scenarios, with increases in irrigation demand in southern China and decreases in northern China under A2 and vice versa under B2. Differences in precipitation patterns between scenarios have been recorded in other climate models (e.g. Haugen and Iversen, 2008) and they clearly play an important role in affecting impacts on crop water regimes. Differences in the changes in irrigation demand by crops can be attributed to their different spatial distributions, management practices (e.g. sowing date, growth period, etc.), and interactions between planting and time of precipitation. For example, rice is cultivated in southern and northeastern China, and usually planted in a ood-irrigated environment (with several centimetres of water above soil surface), so that higher temperatures enhance the irrigation demand through increases in both transpiration and evaporation. In contrast, the growing period of maize (usually from June to August) coincides with the rainfall season, so that irrigation demand may decrease because most of projected increases in precipitation occur during this season. The relatively longer growth period of wheat and the assumption of unlimited irrigation for all growing seasons increases the susceptibility of wheat production to warming, which results in an increase in irrigation demand. The interaction of socio-economic development and climate change produces a signicant effect on water availability for agriculture. Without climate change, decits in water availability for agriculture are projected with A2 and B2, due primarily to increases in non-agricultural water demand. Such decits, combined with a policy for increasing the irrigation area, result in a progressive shortfall between what is planned and what is feasible (purely in terms of water availability) in irrigation area in the coming decades (Fig. 9). Climate change acts as an additional driver to impact water stress in the future, albeit differently between A2 and B2. A2 exacerbates water stress, as indicated by the dramatically declining water availability for other agricultural uses (Fig. 5), large decreases in irrigated rice area (Fig. 7), and moderate increases in the shortfall between planned and feasible irrigation area (Fig. 9). B2 reduces water stress to some extent. The different results between A2 and B2 demonstrate the complexity of the interactions between climate change and socioeconomic development. In this case socio-economic development in B2 does not signicantly decrease the water availability for agriculture, due to smaller increases in water demand from nonagricultural sectors. However, B2 impacts increase total water availability, and simultaneously maintain the present cereal irrigation demand. This leads to surplus water availability for agriculture in the future. In spite of differences in national water availability for agriculture between A2 and B2, both project a very similar geographic pattern of agricultural water reliability at the provincial scale. Reductions in water availability for agriculture are projected for southern China, especially under A2. To some degree

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Fig. 8. Spatial patterns of percentage change in (a and b) irrigated paddy rice and (c and d) wheat and maize due to changes in future agricultural water availability.

this reverses the current situation of water scarcity in northern China, and could trigger adjustments in the geographical distribution of crops (e.g. more rainfed crops in the south), changes in dietary preference (less rice, more wheat or maize), and other adaptation strategies. The spatial patterns in our results are inconsistent with some previous studies which neglect the effects of socio-economic development, such as Tao et al. (2003).

Fig. 9. Differences in irrigation area under socio-economic scenarios between results with and without corresponding climate change scenarios.

We end with a note on limitations and uncertainties. We assumed that agricultural water was always available at the correct times for irrigation and all grid cells in their respective river basins were given equal access to water (ignoring spatial variations). Decreasing groundwater levels due to abstractions for irrigation and urban water use (e.g. North China Plain) were not included although likely to further limit future irrigation potential. Future advances in water management and policy, such as water rights reform and water pricing policies, were not considered. Major inter-basin water transfer projects such as the South to North were also not included in the simulation. Nevertheless, the results are relevant for adaptation policies on food and water in China. Firstly, the large reductions in water available for other agricultural purposes (assuming the needs of cereal crops are satised rst) imply signicant impacts on the production of cash crops (e.g. fruits, vegetables, etc.) and livestock, which are the main sources of income for many Chinese farmers, particularly in areas serving urban markets. Their production is to some extent more dependent on irrigation water than subsistence crops like wheat or maize. This may bring the need for revised irrigation water allocation, with greater priority given to cash crops. Secondly, future changes in the spatial pattern of water availability may impact upon the sustainability of interbasin water transfer schemes and the conservation or conversion of rice area in south China. Finally, the projected shortfall in


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irrigated area due to water scarcity is a signicant challenge to national policy to expand irrigation and the importance of implementing a comprehensive water saving programme across sectors. 5. Conclusions

(Department for International Development) of the UK (Grant No. 14703821). Partly support was also from the National Scientic Program (2007BA03A02). We extend gratitude to two anonymous reviewers who provided many constructive comments on improving the manuscript. References

This study represents the rst integration of climate change and socio-economic scenarios on agriculture within China. The simulation results help to provide a comprehensive picture of the potential impacts of climate change and socio-economic development on agricultural water availability in China. A topdown simulation methodology is employed, which uses the IPCC SRES Climate scenarios from the regional climate model PRECIS were used to drive crop and water simulation models underpinned by the IPCC SRES A2 and B2 socio-economic pathways. The results provide a comprehensive insight to the potential impacts of climate change and socio-economic development on water availability for agriculture in China. Hydrological simulations driven by PRECIS climate scenarios suggest increases of around 20% in total water availability for the 2020s, and 18% for the 2040s. The two climate change scenarios produce different effects on cereal irrigation demand, with signicant increases under A2 and slight increases under B2. The effects of climate change on water availability for agriculture are small compared to the effects of socio-economic development on demand, and have different directions between A2 and B2. More pessimistic impacts occur with A2 climate and socioeconomic development: as climate change increases the shortfall in planned and feasible expansion in irrigation area and exacerbates water stress for agriculture. In contrast, with B2 conditions climate change increases the water reliability for agriculture and decreases the shortfall in irrigation. However, these impacts may be underestimated because PRECIS projects a wetter climate in the future compared to a multi-model GCM average for China. Future cereal irrigation demand was found to be highly sensitive to the characteristics of daily precipitation. The two climate scenarios produced similar changes (18-20%) in TWA for the 2020s and 2040s, however, they produced signicant differences in simulated irrigation demand due to differences in frequency and intensity of daily precipitation events. Overall, the results suggest that there will be insufcient water for agriculture in China in the coming decades, due to increases in water demand for non-agricultural uses, especially with A2 scenario. This shortfall is greater in southern China, because of a signicant decline in the share of water for agriculture and intensive planting of paddy rice. Although a policy option to increase the area of irrigated cereal is assumed under both development pathways in order to maintain food security (consistent with current national policy), the simulated irrigated cereal area decreases, particularly for rice, if the present irrigation efciency is maintained. The study identied signicant spatial differences in impacts at the river basin and provincial level. In broad terms water availability for agriculture declines in southern China and remains stable in northern China. These patterns go against the present situation and are likely to have signicant implications for adaptation strategies or policies for agricultural production and water management. Acknowledgements This study was made possible by funding from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 30700477) and DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs), DFID

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