Feeding more people with less water is putting efficient irrigation practices worldwide high on the agendas. As a reaction, over the last decades, numerous irrigation decision-support tools have been developed. For several reasons, the gap between farmer and modeler remained in most cases too large. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) contributes to alleviate the encountered adoption limitations with AquaCrop and its stand-alone AquaCrop plug-in. This simple and robust field-crop-water balance has been successfully tested for a wide range of crops and regions, and its database is still expanding through worldwide contributions. The present chapter describes how AquaCrop can help irrigation advisory services draft efficient irrigation calendars that are easily applicable and adoptable: either by the elaboration of site-specific irrigation schedule calendars in chart format when the user has no access to the needed data or by the integration of its plug-in in a server/client ICT application offering centralized data management. As for the irrigation charts, studies prove 10-30% water savings, while maintaining yield and requiring minimum data. The server/client application offers an all-in advice tool, including real-time irrigation advice and yield forecasts. No adoption assessments have yet been carried out, but several ongoing pilot studies are promising.
Part of the book: Current Perspective on Irrigation and Drainage