Unraveling the impacts of droughts and agricultural intensification on the Altiplano water resources

Frédéric Satgé, Yawar Hussain, Alvaro Xavier, Ramiro Pillco Zolá, Leandro Salles, Franck Timouk, Frédérique Seyler, Jérémie Garnier, Frédéric Frappart, Marie Paule Bonnet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

During the last decades, agriculture has drastically increased over the South American Andean Plateau (Altiplano), resulting in extensive changes in land cover from native vegetation to essentially Quinoa crop. Along with climatic variability, these land use changes appear as a catalyst in worsening the already existing drought events and water scarcity processes. Hence, understanding their relative contributions to the regional desertification process is crucial for sustainable water-use adaptation, but also is quite ambiguous because of water resource data scarcity over the Altiplano. Therefore, in the present study, an attempt to measure the impact of severe droughts and agricultural intensification on the water resources has been made using remote sensing datasets. The first step was dedicated to the validation of newly released CHIRPS v.2 precipitation and GLEAM v.3 potential evapotranspiration products by comparing their estimates with the results obtained from gauges data. Then, the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) was used to describe past hydro-meteorological drought events in terms of their spatial extent, duration, intensity and their impacts on the regional water resources. Finally, the dynamic trends in the spatial extent of the Quinoa crop and the meteorological conditions derived from CHIRPS v.2 and GLEAM v.3 were compared with the Vegetation Condition Index (VCI) and the Total Water Storage (TWS) derived from AVHRR and GRACE data respectively, to observe the respective influence of agriculture and climate variability on the regional hydrological system. A significant increase in Quinoa crop extent is observed from 2001 which corresponds to a significant decrease in regional VCI and TWS. Based on this trend, agriculture appears as a contributing factor in the water scarcity process over the Altiplano. The outcomes of this study will contribute to local decision making for a better water management and hydro-meteorological monitoring system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107710
JournalAgricultural and Forest Meteorology
Volume279
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), France, in the framework of the HASM project (Hydrology of Altiplano: from Spatial to Modeling); the Institut de Recheche pour le Développement (IRD), France, and the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES), Brazil.

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), France, in the framework of the HASM project (Hydrology of Altiplano: from Spatial to Modeling); the Institut de Recheche pour le D?veloppement (IRD), France, and the Coordena??o de Aperfei?oamento de Pessoal de N?vel Superior (CAPES), Brazil. This work was supported by the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) in the framework of the HASM project (Hydrology of Altiplano: from Spatial to Modeling). The first author is grateful to the Bolivian SENAMHI (Servicio Nacional de Meteorolog?a y Hidrolog?a) for sharing meteorological data.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier B.V.

Keywords

  • Agriculture
  • Climate
  • Hydrological drought
  • Remote sensing
  • Water scarcity

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