Regional climate change impacts on irrigation vulnerable season shifts in agricultural water availability for South Korea

Won Ho Nam, Taegon Kim, Eun Mi Hong, Jin Yong Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Reservoirs are principal water resources that supply irrigation water to paddy fields and play an important role in water resources management in South Korea. For optimal irrigation reservoir operation and management, it is necessary to determine the duration of irrigation water shortages. Management of reservoir operation and irrigation scheduling should take into consideration essential variables that include the water supply in a reservoir and the water demand in the associated irrigation district. The agricultural water supply and demand show different patterns based on the variability and uncertainty of meteorological and hydrological phenomena. The duration of excessive water supply can be quantitatively determined through analysis of deviations and changes in the timing of agricultural water supply and demand. In this study, we introduce an approach to assess the vulnerable seasons of paddy irrigation to enable more effective operation and management of reservoirs. The vulnerable seasons were evaluated through comparison of the potential water supply capacity and irrigation water requirements based on water budget analysis via a time series change analysis. We have assessed the changing in the total duration and duration shifts of the vulnerable irrigation seasons for four agricultural reservoirs using past observed data (1981-2010) from meteorological stations maintained by the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) and projected climate change scenarios (2011-2100) as depicted by the Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) emission scenarios. For irrigation vulnerable seasons under both the RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 scenarios, the results showed periods of significant increases in which total vulnerable seasons compared to the historical period; the longest duration of vulnerability occurred during the 2071-2100 period under the RCP 8.5. Identification of the vulnerable seasons for paddy irrigation can be applied in agricultural water management to more effectively manage reservoir operation during irrigation periods with climate changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number735
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 26 2017


  • Climate change
  • Irrigation scheduling
  • Irrigation water requirement
  • Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs)
  • Reservoir
  • South Korea
  • Water supply capacity

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