Guidance for Large-scale Implementation of Alternate Wetting and Drying: A Biophysical Suitability Assessment

Monday, 15 December 2014: 5:30 PM
Bjoern Ole Sander1, Reiner Wassmann1, Andrew Nelson1, Leo Palao1, Eva Wollenberg2 and Manabu Ishitani3, (1)International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Los Banos, Philippines, (2)Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security program (CCAFS), Copenhagen, Denmark, (3)International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Cali, Colombia
The alternate wetting and drying (AWD) technology for rice production does not only save 15-30% of irrigation water, it also reduces methane emissions by up to 70%. AWD is defined by periodic drying and re-flooding of a rice field. Due to its high mitigation potential and its simplicity to execute this practice AWD has gained a lot of attention in recent years.

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) has put AWD high on its agenda and funds a project to guide implementation of this technology in Vietnam, Bangladesh and Colombia. One crucial activity is a biophysical suitability assessment for AWD in the three countries. For this, we analyzed rainfall and soil data as well as potential evapotranspiration to assess if the water balance allows practicing AWD or if precipitation is too high for rice fields to fall dry.

In my talk I will outline key factors for a successful large-scale implementation of AWD with a focus on the biophysical suitability assessment. The seasonal suitability maps that we generated highlight priority areas for AWD implementation and guide policy makers to informed decisions about meaningful investments in infrastructure and extension work.