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Sustainable Agriculture Management: A study case in the Ili-Balkhash basin. Xinjiang, China
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Ecology.
2009 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Water is the source of life. Leonardo da Vinci, constructor of the drainage system of a swamp area north of Rome, said that “water is the blood of the soil”. Without water there is not fertile soil and without any of them there is no harvest.

Sustainable Agriculture Management is all about how to develop and improve the use of different resources to make agriculture more sustainable. This study is about how to apply this concept into the study area.

The Balkhash Lake is among the biggest lakes on earth, but due to unreasonable water utilization, the lake is facing the same fate as the Aral Sea. The lake belongs to the Ili Balkhash Basin IBB that is shared by two countries; Kazakhstan and China. Most of the water (around 80%), that feed the lake, come with the Ili River that is born on the Chinese side. Most of the water is used for agriculture purposes. Now the Chinese Government want to increase the irrigated area and develop more projects that require more water. If this is done without any improvement in the agriculture management, the IBB is under threat.

The irrigation systems in the study area are very precarious. The farmers are isolated with almost no possibility to participate in the development process. The government is not interested in any research in water issues and the information that can be found about water consumption and cultivated area are proven to be far from reality. A difficult situation facing the above mention problematic.

The agriculture area can grow but the water management in the Upper Ili Basin needs to be reviewed and improved. Just by doing small changes like changing rice cultivation for a crop with a higher water productivity the amount of water that can be saved is considerable. Or by importing virtual water from a region with a higher water productivity. But first a general recognition from the Chinese side about water shortage is necessary.

The Ili Balkhash Basin can be sustainable if it is treated as a whole. The boundaries of the system need to be set around the whole basin. A partial view of the basin can be dangerous and jeopardize the subsistence of the natural environment of the area.

When the carrying capacity of the basin is measured, the only way to grow is under this threshold. In this case, by improving water productivity with better agriculture management.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. , 50 p.
Trita-IM, ISSN 1402-7615 ; 2009:04
Keyword [en]
Sustainable Agriculture Management, Xinjiang, Ili river, Ili Balkhash Basin, irrigation, virtual water
National Category
Agricultural Sciences Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-102551OAI: diva2:555402
Subject / course
Industrial Ecology
Educational program
Master of Science - Sustainable Technology
Available from: 2012-11-28 Created: 2012-09-19 Last updated: 2012-11-28Bibliographically approved

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