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Journal of Arid Land

Article Title

Impacts of water resource planning on regional water consumption pattern: A case study in Dunhuang Oasis, China

Abstract

Water resourcesare critical for the existence and development of oases in endorheic basins. Thus, to enable sustainable development, it is fundamentally important to understand how to allocate and use these resourcesin a reasonable way. We therefore simulated and analyzed changes in water consumption pattern within the Dunhuang Oasis of China under three scenarios using a system dynamic model that corresponds to different water consumption pattern. This was done to assess the impacts of regional water resource planning (comprehensive planning of the rational use of water resource and protection of ecosystem services in the Dunhuang Basin) on water consumption patternwithin the Dunhuang Oasis. The first of these, Scenario 1, is a baseline in which the status quo is maintained, while Scenario 2 incorporates the comprehensive effects of agricultural water-saving irrigation measures with an inter-basin water diversion project, and Scenario 3 focuses on ecological rehabilitation. In the baseline Scenario 1, the total water consumption within the Dunhuang Oasis increased progressively while agricultural water consumption remained extremely high and threatened overall ecological security. In contrast, Scenario 2 would decrease agricultural water consumptionby almost 5.30×107m3 following the implementation of water-saving practices. The additional water allocated from aninter-basin water diversion project would play an important role in alleviating ecological strain on the oasis. Finally, in Scenario 3, the total irrigated land must be decreased to 20.6×103 hm2 by 2025assuming that water supply for ecosystem restoration would be at least 50% of the total consumption.Although water resource planning plays a very important role in alleviating theecological water crisis within the oasis, it is necessary to consider the suitable scale of oasiswith regard to current water consumption pattern.

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