We collaborated with Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation for estimating blue water productivities for three cotton farms in Tajikistan using the Geographic Agricultural Water Footprint Calculator GAWFC. We did this for two soil water retention capacity scenarios. We found out that the crop suffers water stress especially during the months of July and August, which are the hottest months. However, crop water stress is alleviated for the bigger soil water retention capacity, indicating that efforts to increase the water retention capacity of the soil are very relevant for these farms, ultimately helping to increase yields.

By simulating the soil water balance during the entire crop season and taking into account the real irrigation data provided, it was possible to identify which irrigation pattern helped minimizing water stress during July and August. GAWFC identified the farm with the highest productivity and supported an in-depth analysis of the link between irrigation patterns and productivities for all farms. Managing irrigation wisely during the months of July and August can make an important difference in productivity. These results point towards engaging at the irrigation association and watershed level to search for longer-term solutions for a more efficient irrigation water distribution and management, more in line with crop and soil water needs.

The discussion workshop on GAWFC results with Helvetas provided pointers on priority data which need to be collected for assessment of crop blue water productivity: soil texture per farm, organic matter content, daily precipitation and climatic data, as well as crop coefficients for special cotton varieties or special agricultural interventions. Also, for assessing blue water productivity scenarios, it is fundamental to count on better estimations of potential yields expected after farming interventions.

The combination of GAWFC simulations, simple data collection at the farm level for validation, and assumptions made in consensus, offers a cost-effective and robust solution for assessing blue water productivities at large scale.

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