The geographical location of irrigation reservoirs: application of a species distribution model considering downstream beneficiaries in the predictor variables

Yuki Ishikawa, Fumiko Ishihama, Naota Hanasaki
Received 10 November, 2023
Accepted 22 January, 2024
Published online 26 March, 2024

Yuki Ishikawa1), Fumiko Ishihama2), Naota Hanasaki1) 2)

1) Graduate School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo, Japan
2) National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan

Irrigation reservoirs are vital for ensuring a stable water supply to nourish crops, but the environmental conditions that influence their geographical location have not been quantitatively determined on a global scale. This study applied a species distribution model (SDM) to predict the locations of irrigation reservoirs based on seven natural and social predictor variables. Under the assumption that the location of an irrigation reservoir reflects the conditions of the downstream beneficiary areas, new social predictor variables were generated to account for the beneficiary grid cells, and the predicted SDM performance was compared to the results of experiments that did not consider beneficiary grid cells. The consideration of beneficiary areas resulted in response curves that were more in accordance with the actual locations of irrigation reservoirs and improved the prediction accuracy of the SDM. The geographical locations of reservoirs were revealed to be most sensitive to social predictors, and the variable importance was improved by integrating information regarding the beneficiary grid cells. These findings highlight the significance of considering the environment surrounding the target grid cell when applying SDMs to water-related infrastructure.

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Copyright (c) 2024 The Author(s) CC-BY 4.0

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