Optimization of Crop Pattern Based on Water Footprint Index in Different Climates of Iran

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Water Engineering Department, Faculty of Water and Soil Engineering, Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Gorgan, Iran

2 Water Engineering Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Urmia University, Urmia, Iran

3 Cotton Research Institute of Iran, Agricultural research Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), Gorgan, Iran.


One of the basic elements of water resources management and increasing agricultural productivity is the optimal use of (water) resources. The water footprint index is one of the new approaches used for this purpose. In this study, the water footprint approach was used to optimize the cultivation pattern of crops in different climates of Iran. For this purpose, 11 crops were selected in six different climates of Iran and after calculating the water footprint of the cultivated crops, the RIS indicators and the actual blue water footprint (WFAblue) were evaluated. After evaluating and calculating the indicators, the TOPSIS optimization method was used to provide the optimal cultivation pattern. Results showed that among the proposed products, wheat, barley, alfalfa, cotton, and tobacco had the highest amount of green water footprint, of which the highest one was corresponded to the PH-C-W climate. However, the highest blue and gray water footprint are mainly related to rice, beans, cotton and tobacco, which is due to the high water consumption of these products (high water demand). Evaluation of the optimization model also showed that the most optimal crops for cultivation in the region were respectively corn with 39%, barley with 23%, potato with 20%, tomato with 7% and wheat with 1% priorities. The most undesirable crops for cultivation in the provinces of the country were respectively, tobacco, cotton, beans, rice, sugar beet and alfalfa.


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