Sustainable Strategies for Water Security in Brazilian Agriculture: A Regionalized Study

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Poster Number:  V-14 

Main Presenter:    Loreto C. Adrison 

Co-Authors:   Cassia Ugaya                                               

Agriculture globally is the primary consumer of water, with irrigation during food production being a significant contributor to water scarcity scenarios. In their Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of agricultural products, Pfister et al. (2011) proposed a method to estimate water scarcity based on production and precipitation data for various crops at a country level. However, the use of region-specific data to quantify water scarcity from food production remains underexplored due to data limitations, potentially underestimating the complexities in this field.

This study aims to perform a regionalized quantification of water scarcity impacts on food production in Brazil. The analysis proposes a regionalized approach, examining the relationship between irrigation needed for maximum food productivity and the resulting impacts from water scarcity in each microregion. This approach is recommended, as indicated by Pfister et al. (2011), highlighting the importance of using regional data for more informed decision-making in this domain.

To optimize the regionalization process, it is recognized that more than just regionalized data sources are necessary. The key contributors to water scarcity from the demand for required water in food production are water availability and temperature (KOURAT et al., 2021). In addition to regionalized precipitation data, essential factors include soil characteristics like texture, composition, and granulometry, directly influencing soil water retention capacity and, consequently, food productivity.

Temperature also directly impacts food development, potentially increasing water demand during the production stage through soil water evaporation. The regionalization method is incorporated into the food productivity quantification model developed by DORENBOS and KASSAM (1979). This method is applied to tomato, lettuce, and potato production in 65 micro-regions across three states in Brazil. Regionalized factors in the AWARE method for each micro-region (ANDRADE et al., 2020) quantify potential water scarcity scenarios in six current and future scenarios, considering climate change models for 2030 and 2040 RCP.

Comparing regional and global climate data used in all proposed regions reveals an overestimation of food productivity losses when using averages, ranging from 4.78% to 34.60%. This suggests potential excessive water use for irrigation, exacerbating water scarcity impacts. In future scenarios (2030 and 2040), the study highlights increased water scarcity in specific Brazilian regions due to elevated irrigation demands in climate change scenarios. If realized, imposing restrictions on food production may become necessary, directly impacting regional economies. Therefore, the results underscore the imperative need for sustainable food production strategies to ensure food security and water availability in diverse Brazilian ecosystems.

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