A state-by-state analysis of agricultural water productivity in Iran


1 M.Sc. Irrigation and Drainage Engineering, member of the Drainage and Environment Working Group, Iranian National Committee on Irrigation and Drainage, Tehran, Iran

2 Assistant Professor, Department of Water Engineering and Sciences, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran



Introduction: Among irrigation management indicators, water productivity is considered the most important by some researchers. However, others strongly oppose this view, arguing that the concept of this indicator fundamentally differs from that of consumption. This study aims to investigate the water productivity of various crops and dietary patterns in Iran.
Materials and Methods: To effectively compare Iran’s water productivity with global averages, measurement criteria were selected to facilitate this comparison. Specifically, if the ratio of Iran to the world falls between 0.9 and 1.1, Iran’s water productivity aligns with global values. If it exceeds the global average by 20%, Iran’s water productivity is considered very good. Conversely, if it is less than 70% of the global average, the water productivity is very low, indicating unfavorable conditions.
Results: Dietary patterns should gradually shift towards products that consume less water. If two agricultural products have similar nutritional values but one consumes less water, the less water-intensive product is preferred. This research investigates two issues: the status of water productivity in Iran’s agricultural sector compared to global averages, and essential strategies for improving water productivity. The comparison of Iran’s average water productivity with global averages reveals that Iran’s location is favorable for barley and bean production but not for wheat and peas.
Conclusion: General strategies to increase water productivity involve enhancing crop yield or reducing water consumption. It appears that Iran should implement two policies as soon as possible: firstly, increasing crop yield rather than expanding cultivated areas, and secondly, gradually adjusting dietary patterns in line with agricultural water productivity. If these changes are not made, the country’s water issues may become critical in the near future.


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