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(KSA 4) Water Utilisation in Agriculture  

THRUST 4: Water Resource Protection And Reclamation In Agriculture


The direction and driving force for research activities and outputs are determined by the strategic focus to improve the knowledge of the natural processes and people-induced impacts of resource use.

With cultivation and irrigation, larger quantities of salts present in the soil and lower strata could be mobilised. Increasing salinity levels and higher water tables threaten the sustainable use of soil and water. Knowledge and tools to manage the quantity and quality of water resources for agricultural production are therefore required. The focus of research is on developing methods and models to manage water distribution and prevent water resource degradation.

Agricultural decisions to use land and to conserve rainfall or to abstract water from rivers, dams and boreholes, has wide-ranging impacts on the natural environment. Intensification of crop and livestock production processes can potentially contribute to higher levels of chemical residues of fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides in surface and groundwater. Precautions must be taken as part of the agricultural production process to protect the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. This requires an understanding of the negative impacts of agriculture and guidelines for an assessment and mitigation of those impacts.

This thrust includes two programmes:

  • Sustainable water resource use on irrigation schemes and within river catchments

  • Impact assessment and environmental management of agricultural production  

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