Optimizing competitive uses of water for irrigation and fisheries
Choosing the appropriate reservoir water management strategy can be difficult when the water has multiple uses. This study examines this problem for reservoir managers where water use involves irrigation and fisheries. A stochastic dynamic programming (SDP) model is developed to facilitate reservoir management, using a case study illustration for southern Vietnam. The model includes the response of rice and fish yields to key factors including reservoir water levels, the timing and quantity of water release, and climatic conditions. The model also accounts for variation in rainfall patterns, irrigation requirements, and the demand for low water levels during the fish harvest season. Three production scenarios are examined where the reservoir's water is used for: only producing rice (scenario 1), only producing fish (scenario 2), and producing rice and fish (scenario 3). Key findings are: (1) for scenario 1, adequate water should be released to meet rice growing water requirements and residual water should be stored as a source of water in case of low rainfall, (2) for scenario 2, sufficient water needs to be released prior to the fish harvest to maximize this harvest; and (3) for scenario 3, water should be released prior to fish harvest, but sufficient water should remain to satisfy the water requirements of rice. When the reservoir is managed for joint production of rice and fish, net benefits are 6% greater than when the reservoir is managed solely for rice production. The SDP model developed in this paper could be adapted and applied to other multiple-use resources such as forests, river basins, and land.
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