The water scarcity problem is globally getting worse especially in the light of increase in water demand among its competing uses. Thus, it is an important to optimize the water allocation to crops. In this paper, a linear programming model has been formulated to ensure the efficient allocation of scarce water resources among the competing crops. This model was constrained by land, water, labour, production costs, and organization constraints, determining the optimal plan for two possible future scenarios. The mathematical analysis was based on statistical data for the years (2009-2011) from the official statistical institutions in Egypt. The results of the two scenarios are as follows: Under the maximization of the net return per unit of land, there is an increase in total net returns by 3.56% more than the actual net returns. The optimized cropping pattern has been coupled with about 3.24% water saving and about 3.13% reduction in production costs compared to actual cropping pattern. However, under the minimization of irrigation water requirements, the total net returns decreased by 10.20% indicating losses below the actual situation. It has resulted in about 11.05% water saving and 11.24% reduction in the costs of production compared to the existing situation. These results can be used as a reference for indicative cropping pattern and irrigation water management in Egypt.
Key words: Linear programming, efficient water allocation, optimal cropping pattern, water management.
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