Global maps for agricultural water use efficiency

#Virtual water #water use efficiency #food security #irrigation #ViWA
Global map of agricultural water use efficiency (AWUE) for maize in 2018 as determined with ViWA’s global monitoring system for agricultural management. While AWUE is high (i.e. up to 2 kg/m3) in most parts of Northern America, Europe and Western Asia, the AWUE values for Africa and Central America are low.
Agricultural water use efficiency (AWUE) for maize in 2018, determined with ViWA’s global monitoring system for agricultural management. © Christine Werner, Elisabeth Probst, Tobias Hank, Wolfram Mauser, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, 2020

The efficient use of scarce water resources is essential to sustainable agriculture. Global maps of actual agricultural water use efficiency can serve as a foundation for environmental and economic decisions in the agricultural sector.

How do we ensure the supply of water-intensive goods like food to a growing world population in the future, despite limited water resources?

Given that the agricultural sector is the world’s largest consumer of water, there is an urgent need for highly efficient water use. The ViWA project’s high-resolution approach enables the evaluation of water use efficiency in the agricultural sector.

Water use efficiency in this case is defined as the ratio of agricultural yield to the amount of water used (evaporated water); in principle, it can be increased by increasing yield. However, the higher the initial water use efficiency, the lower the expected improvement with increasing yield. 

The global maps allow users to identify areas with low (or high) agricultural water use efficiency. In this way, the maps can serve as a basis for decision-making as to whether and to what extent an increase in yield through optimised agricultural management should be supported and promoted from an economic and ecological perspective.

The water use efficiency maps are available on demand at a resolution of 30 arc-seconds for major agricultural crops (barley, cassava, cotton, maize, millet, potato, canola, rice, rye, sorghum, soybean, sugar beet, sugarcane, sunflower, and wheat) for the years 2015 to 2018.

Water resource: Groundwater, Rainwater, Surface water
Type of product:
  • Modelling & software tools
Application sector: Agriculture, Natural water environment, Water resource management
Funding measure: GRoW
Project: ViWA

Contact and partners

Logo Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität München (LMU)
  • Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität München (LMU),
  • Luisenstraße 37,
  • 80333 München _blank
Prof. Dr. Wolfram Mauser

Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences
Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Climate Service Center
Leibniz-Universität Hannover, Institut für Umweltplanung
Institut für Weltwirtschaft Kiel
VISTA Geoscience Remote Sensing GmbH
Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung GmbH - UFZ,

Media library

This site uses third-party website tracking technologies to provide its services. I agree to this and can revoke or change my consent at any time with effect for the future.

Settings Decline AcceptLegal NoticePrivacy Policy