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Integrated agri-aquaculture in desert and arid lands - Learning from case studies from Algeria, Egypt and Oman












Corner, R., Fersoy, H. and Crespi, V (eds). 2020. Integrated agri-aquaculture in desert and arid lands: Learning from case studies from Algeria, Egypt and Oman. Fisheries and Aquaculture Circular No. 1195. Cairo, FAO.




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    Water scarcity is one of the major challenges in the 19 countries of the Near East and North Africa (NENA) region. The lack of water is affecting important irrigated areas, limiting the increase of food production needed to address the growing demand due to population growth. In most countries of the NENA region, the need to use non-conventional water resources, including brackish water, is well recognized. Brackish water is loosely defined as water that is more saline than freshwater, but less saline than seawater. It covers a large range of salinity levels, from 500 to 30 000 mg/l of total dissolved solids (TDS). Despite the presence of large amounts of brackish water and its potential for use in growing a number of crops, it is only used in limited amounts for irrigation. The successful use of brackish water for irrigation requires a basic understanding of scientific principles affecting the interactions among the climate, the applied water, the soil, the crop, and the environment. Equally important is the application of suitable technology and management practices that will facilitate the optional use of this poor-quality water. The successful use of brackish water requires a higher level of management and likely the adoption of new irrigation management practices. Because climate, water quality, soil type, and crop tolerance to salinity vary from location to location, guidelines, with some degree of site-specific flexibility, must be developed.
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    The Near East and North Africa (NENA) Region has long faced water scarcity due to natural causes. Still, factors like population growth, food security policies, and socioeconomic development have worsened the situation in recent decades. Climate change and the food insecurity resulting from the war in Ukraine have further strained the already limited water resources in the region.To address these challenges, countries in the NENA Region seek ways to allocate scarce water resources effectively. They aim to improve water accounting, monitor water usage in strategic hydrological systems, and enhance water productivity and efficiency to save and redistribute water. One crucial aspect to consider in these efforts is water consumption, particularly in irrigated agriculture, which utilizes over 85 percent of renewable freshwater resources while remaining vital to the sustainability of the food sector and farming systems.Given the significant spatial scales involved, satellite remote sensing technology has become a valuable tool in determining evapotranspiration–water consumption. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Initiative on Water Scarcity for the Near East and North Africa (WSI) has gathered top experts in evapotranspiration determination through satellite remote sensing to guide water stakeholders in the region. This initiative has also expanded to other FAO regions through the inter-Regional Technical Platform on Water Scarcity (iRTP-WS).To facilitate knowledge sharing, a series of twenty-five webinars were organized, fostering dialogue between experts and water actors. Additionally, this publication summarizes the outcomes of the webinars and provides further analysis and insights on satellite remote sensing determination of evapotranspiration.The publication aims to update the knowledge and enhance the capacity of water professionals, raise awareness of the strengths and limitations of remote sensing models and databases for evapotranspiration, and clarify operational aspects such as spatial and temporal resolutions and accuracy. Ultimately, it serves as a valuable reference for water actors and professionals working towards sustainable water resource management.

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