The water use of selected fruit tree orchards (Volume 1): Review of available knowledge. WRC 2014.

The terms of reference for this project required the measurement of the unstressed water use and ancillary variables of at least 4 types of fruit tree/orchard crops at selected sites to enable modeling using available South African or international models. Furthermore, the conditions stipulated that the selection should be representative of sub-tropical and deciduous fruit trees/orchard crops in winter and summer rainfall areas. Consequently, the decisions of 1) what species to measure, and 2) where to measure them, needed to ensure that the fruit tree / orchard species and cultivars that were eventually selected met the criteria of at least 4 different species or cultivars; which included both subtropical and deciduous species; and monitoring sites were located in both summer, and winter rainfall regions respectively. A ranking procedure was developed to characterize individual crops into the required categories and using this in the decision making process. The subsequent monitoring of Valencia and navel oranges, apples, nectarines, peaches, pecans and macadamias ensured that the chosen species / cultivars covered summer and winter rainfall zones, evergreen, deciduous and subtropical crops, that included both fruits and nuts. Project activities moved from an initial planning, review and “desktop-type” stage to a field measurement and modelling phase. Intensive measurements of a range of relevant variables at the various sites were conducted, modelling exercises were undertaken at the respective sites once sufficient field data had been collected, and findings from the respective tasks described above were consolidated. The range and extent of the project was ambitious, with monitoring sites across South Africa. The composition of the multi-disciplinary and well-distributed project team ensured the collection and comparison of fruit tree water use data from a wide range of climatic zones and species / cultivars. This has yielded a unique and extensive data set that provides comprehensive knowledge of water use characteristics and the actual water use of selected fruit tree/orchard crops under South African conditions. 

Authors: Taylor N.J. & Gush M.B.

Organisations: Natural Resources and Environment, CSIR; University of Pretoria; Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Free online registration & full report. 

 

The water use of selected fruit tree orchards (Volume 2):  Technical report on measurements and modelling. WRC 2014.

The terms of reference for this project required the measurement of the unstressed water use and ancillary variables of at least 4 types of fruit tree/orchard crops at selected sites to enable modeling using available South African or international models. Furthermore, the conditions stipulated that the selection should be representative of sub-tropical and deciduous fruit trees/orchard crops in winter and summer rainfall areas. Consequently, the decisions of 1) what species to measure, and 2) where to measure them, needed to ensure that the fruit tree / orchard species and cultivars that were eventually selected met the criteria of at least 4 different species or cultivars; which included both subtropical and deciduous species; and monitoring sites were located in both summer, and winter rainfall regions respectively. A ranking procedure was developed to characterize individual crops into the required categories and using this in the decision making process. The subsequent monitoring of Valencia and navel oranges, apples, nectarines, peaches, pecans and macadamias ensured that the chosen species / cultivars covered summer and winter rainfall zones, evergreen, deciduous and subtropical crops, that included both fruits and nuts. Project activities moved from an initial planning, review and “desktop-type” stage to a field measurement and modelling phase. Intensive measurements of a range of relevant variables at the various sites were conducted, modelling exercises were undertaken at the respective sites once sufficient field data had been collected, and findings from the respective tasks described above were consolidated. The range and extent of the project was ambitious, with monitoring sites across South Africa. The composition of the multi-disciplinary and well-distributed project team ensured the collection and comparison of fruit tree water use data from a wide range of climatic zones and species / cultivars. This has yielded a unique and extensive data set that provides comprehensive knowledge of water use characteristics and the actual water use of selected fruit tree/orchard crops under South African conditions.

Authors: Gush M.B. & Taylor J.                                                                                                

Organisations: Natural Resources and Environment, CSIR; University of Pretoria ,Department of Plant production and Soil Science; Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

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Development and applications of rainfall forecasts for agriculturally-related decision-making in selected catchments of South Africa. WRC 2012.

The overall objective of this project was to develop and test techniques and models for translating weather and climate forecasts in South Africa into applications for decision support at a range of spatial scales in both rainfed and irrigated agricultural production and water management, in order to reduce risks associated with vagaries of day-to-day to seasonal climate variability. The report contains an audit illustrating that there is no lack of climate forecasts available for South Africa. Seven case study applications of weather and climate forecasts are presented. One of the specific objectives of this project was to work towards developing a framework for agrohydrological forecasting for South Africa. This was achieved in two phases, the first being in the early stages of the project with emphasis on a research based framework for an agrohydrological forecasting system for South Africa with the second, building upon the first, moving towards an operational agrohydrological forecast framework. Having utilised climate forecasts for the agricultural sector and developed an agrohydrological climate driven forecast system, a series of benefit analyses of such forecasts is also presented. The report includes an economic benefit analysis of maize management decisions using seasonal rainfall scenarios in which a verification study of maize yield estimates from the APSIM model is followed first by an analysis of simulated maize yields and more importantly then by a comparative economic benefit analysis of different management decisions. One of the recommendations from this project is that sustained and adequate funding (possibly from multiple sources) be made available for one institution in South Africa to be made responsible for the collation (from different sources) and uniform quality control of climate data, and that these data then be made freely available to all bona fide researchers. This multi-organisational and multiple level project highlighted that for weather and climate forecasts to be successful in agricultural decision making, six basic ingredients are necessary.

Authors: Lumsden T.G. & Schulze R.E.

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Guidance for Sustainable On-farm and On-scheme Irrigation Water Measurement. WRC 2012.

The results of this technology transfer project can be summarized in four key messages for potential users of measuring devices for irrigation water. Assign the responsibility for implementation to a skilled person: A knowledgeable and skilled person employed by the Water User Association (WUA) or Irrigation Board is required if water measurement is to be implemented successfully. Such a person should preferably have a technical background and be involved with the process of implementation right from the start, to ensure that they share all the experiences in the process of finding a sustainable measurement solution for the area under consideration. This person must be able to develop a measurement system for the specific situation and also be able to see to the day-to-day operation and maintenance of the measuring devices (with assistance if necessary). Preparation is key: In order to find the best solution, it is recommended that any possible technology that is being considered for wide-scale implementation must first be evaluated on a trial basis to obtain first-hand experience with its installation, operation and maintenance requirements. It is better to try out as many technologies as possible on a small scale before making a final selection, as this can prevent inappropriate, costly systems from being purchased that may become redundant after a short while of operation. The cost of single units of a few different technologies is money well-spent in view of selecting the best solution. Commit to an implementation plan: Any project should be planned and implemented as simply and practically as possible – unnecessary complication is a threat to successful project implementation. This can only be achieved if knowledgeable implementing agents manage the project through careful planning and in-depth assessment of the situation presenting itself, as every project will be different in its own right and therefore require site-specific solutions, an outcome that will hopefully be achieved through the careful application of the proposed implementation guidelines and plan. Install the most appropriate technology that can be afforded: Research work undertaken over the last 10 years has shown that suitable technologies and devices are available for the measurement of irrigation water, even in challenging situations with regards to aspects such as water quality and installation conditions. Failure of measuring devices or systems can usually be blamed on incorrect selection, application, installation or maintenance rather than on the technology itself. Under demanding conditions, it is imperative that the best technology or device available and affordable is obtained, to ensure a sustainable system that will serve the purpose that the owners of the system intended it for. The benefits of a suitable system will pay for itself within a short period of time but an unreliable system will only cause frustration and lead to unnecessary expenses and an additional work load on the water managers of a scheme.

Authors: van der Stoep I.; Pott A.; Viljoen J.H. & van Vuuren A.M.J.

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Water Stewardship Experiences in the Western Cape. WWF 2014.

Introduction

The Mediterranean climate of the Western Cape translates into hot and dry summers and wet, cold winters. This sets the region apart from the rest of South Africa, which typically receives summer rainfall. This unique rainfall pattern in South Africa makes the Western Cape the key area for particular agricultural crops that are often linked to the export market. These include stone and pome fruit (apples, pears), citrus as well as grapes. Other crops, such as olives, wheat and vegetables are also common to particular sub-regions. What the Western Cape does have in common with the rest of South Africa is a highly variable climate, in which droughts and floods are a common risk to consider. This is exacerbated by climate change predictions, which foresee the Western Cape to face ever more extreme weather events and, overall, less rainfall. Changing land uses and their various impacts on water resources are resulting in increasing water quality risks... 

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Nutritional value and water use of African leafy vegetables for improved livelihoods. WRC 2012.

African leafy vegetables are commonly perceived to be heat and drought tolerant, use less water than conventional crops and provide a host of health benefits especially nutritional benefits. If these attributes are true, these crops could contribute greatly to the diet of especially poor, food insecure households, many of whom are living in drought stricken areas of the country. The research consisted of four main thrusts divided into specific research objectives. The review of nutritional status and strategies showed that under- and over-nutrition co-exist in the same communities and often same household. With respect to water requirements, there were distinct differences in water requirements between the different plants which varied from 340 mm to 463 mm. The ALVs studied were found to be sensitive to water stress and the biomass production of the crops was influenced by the irrigation treatments. This is a significant finding as it indicates that the crops can only be produced with an adequate amount of water particularly if the yield is intended for human consumption. The final section on human nutritional issues showed that these plants can indeed contribute substantially to intake of vitamin A and iron in both young children and women, two of the most vulnerable groups with respect to malnutrition. Where some plants provided more than 50% of the RDA for vitamin A, all ALVs studied were good sources of vitamin A. The plants also provide a varying amount of other important nutrients which again supports the use of a variety to address the nutritional health of vulnerable people. This extensive study contributed greatly to the understanding of the use, cultivation and nutritional contribution of these crops to human health and well-being. It was clear that cultivation poses some challenges, but none more than existing exotic species. The results therefore provide support for cultivation and increased consumption of these food crops.

AuthorsOelofse A. & van Averbeke W.

Organisations: University of Pretoria; Tshwane University of Technology 

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Water use and nitrogen application for irrigation management of pasture production. WRC 2012.

The overall objective of this study was to promote efficient irrigation management of grass pastures (emphasis on ryegrass and kikuyu) by synthesizing available knowledge and generating new knowledge for improving water use efficiency by pastures. Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) was planted in an experiment conducted at the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture at Cedara located in the midlands of the KwaZulu-Natal mistbelt, one of the main milk producing areas of South Africa. Another experiment with various treatments was also conducted under a rain shelter at the Hatfield Experimental Farm of the University of Pretoria. It was concluded that at the expense of dry matter production, the highest WUE was achieved under water limiting conditions. Based on the data from this experiment, by irrigating once a week and fertilising with high N application rate after each harvest, optimum yield can be achieved with better quality pasture and a better WUE. The data were used to calibrate the models used in this project. The Soil Water Balance (SWB) model was evaluated at the two sites for different irrigation treatments in two ryegrass growing seasons. The applicability of a remote sensing tool (SEBAL) was shown to predict evapotranspiration at a spatial resolution (30 m) suitable for irrigation scheduling of kikuyu.

Authors: Fessehazion M.K.; Abraha A.B.; Everson C.S.; Truter W.F.; Annandale J.G. & Moodley M.                                                               

Oganisations: Department of Plant Production & Soil Science University of Pretoria; University of Kwazulu Natal; AquaGreen Consulting; CSIR

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Water Harvesting and Conservation – Volume 1: Development of a comprehensive learning package. WRC 2011.

The comprehensive learning package for water harvesting and conservation (WH&C) was developed within a ‘training of trainers’ framework targeting three user groups: 1) learners at training organisations (who will later work with gardeners and farmers) 2) facilitators at training organisations 3) resource-poor gardeners and farmers. The learning package comprises three main parts: 1) A Technical Module covering water, soils and WH&C methods 2) A Facilitation Module covering facilitation techniques within a Participatory Innovation Development approach 3) A set of Farmer’s Handouts with illustrated steps on how to implement the methods. Each of the technical and facilitation modules comprised two volumes. There is a detailed, annotated and illustrated manual for learners, and a Facilitation and Assessment Guide for course facilitators. These are set at the level of NQF 5 on the (new) 10 tier scale. The set of farmers handouts are designed for people with low literacy and are illustrated ‘how-to’ instructions for the water harvesting and conservation methods. The materials were developed in close consultation with key stakeholders to ensure relevance of materials to likely organisations of learning, and to end-user needs. The draft materials were successfully piloted in a formal learning environment and were reviewed by seven agricultural colleges

Authors: Denison J.; Smulders H.; Kruger E.; Houghton T. & Botha M.                                  

Organisations: Umhlaba Consulting Group (Pty) Ltd

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Water Harvesting and Conservation – Volume 2 Part 1: Technical Manual and Farmer Handouts. WRC 2011.

The comprehensive learning package for water harvesting and conservation (WH&C) was developed within a ‘training of trainers’ framework targeting three user groups: 1) learners at training organisations (who will later work with gardeners and farmers) 2) facilitators at training organisations 3) resource-poor gardeners and farmers. The learning package comprises three main parts: 1) A Technical Module covering water, soils and WH&C methods 2) A Facilitation Module covering facilitation techniques within a Participatory Innovation Development approach 3) A set of Farmer’s Handouts with illustrated steps on how to implement the methods. Each of the technical and facilitation modules comprised two volumes. There is a detailed, annotated and illustrated manual for learners, and a Facilitation and Assessment Guide for course facilitators. These are set at the level of NQF 5 on the (new) 10 tier scale. The set of farmers handouts are designed for people with low literacy and are illustrated ‘how-to’ instructions for the water harvesting and conservation methods. The materials were developed in close consultation with key stakeholders to ensure relevance of materials to likely organisations of learning, and to end-user needs. The draft materials were successfully piloted in a formal learning environment and were reviewed by seven agricultural colleges

Authors: Denison J.; Smulders H.; Kruger E.; Ndingi H. & Botha M.                                              

Organisations: Umhlaba Consulting Group (Pty) Ltd

Free online registration & full report. 

 

Water Harvesting and Conservation – Volume 2 Part 2: Facilitation and Assessment Guide for the Technical Manual. WRC 2011.

The comprehensive learning package for water harvesting and conservation (WH&C) was developed within a ‘training of trainers’ framework targeting three user groups: 1) learners at training organisations (who will later work with gardeners and farmers) 2) facilitators at training organisations 3) resource-poor gardeners and farmers. The learning package comprises three main parts: 1) A Technical Module covering water, soils and WH&C methods 2) A Facilitation Module covering facilitation techniques within a Participatory Innovation Development approach 3) A set of Farmer’s Handouts with illustrated steps on how to implement the methods. Each of the technical and facilitation modules comprised two volumes. There is a detailed, annotated and illustrated manual for learners, and a Facilitation and Assessment Guide for course facilitators. These are set at the level of NQF 5 on the (new) 10 tier scale. The set of farmers handouts are designed for people with low literacy and are illustrated ‘how-to’ instructions for the water harvesting and conservation methods. The materials were developed in close consultation with key stakeholders to ensure relevance of materials to likely organisations of learning, and to end-user needs. The draft materials were successfully piloted in a formal learning environment and were reviewed by seven agricultural colleges

Authors: Denison J.; Smulders H.; Kruger E.; Ndingi H. & Botha M.        

Organisations: Umhlaba Consulting Group (Pty) Ltd

Free online registration & full report. 

 

Water Harvesting and Conservation – Volume 2 Part 3: Facilitation Manual. WRC 2011.

The comprehensive learning package for water harvesting and conservation (WH&C) was developed within a ‘training of trainers’ framework targeting three user groups: 1) learners at training organisations (who will later work with gardeners and farmers) 2) facilitators at training organisations 3) resource-poor gardeners and farmers. The learning package comprises three main parts: 1) A Technical Module covering water, soils and WH&C methods 2) A Facilitation Module covering facilitation techniques within a Participatory Innovation Development approach 3) A set of Farmer’s Handouts with illustrated steps on how to implement the methods. Each of the technical and facilitation modules comprised two volumes. There is a detailed, annotated and illustrated manual for learners, and a Facilitation and Assessment Guide for course facilitators. These are set at the level of NQF 5 on the (new) 10 tier scale. The set of farmers handouts are designed for people with low literacy and are illustrated ‘how-to’ instructions for the water harvesting and conservation methods. The materials were developed in close consultation with key stakeholders to ensure relevance of materials to likely organisations of learning, and to end-user needs. The draft materials were successfully piloted in a formal learning environment and were reviewed by seven agricultural colleges

Authors: Denison J.; Smulders H.; Kruger E.; Ndingi H. & Botha M                      

Organisations: Umhlaba Consulting Group (Pty) Ltd

Free online registration & full document.

 

Water Harvesting and Conservation - Volume 2 part 4: Facilitation and Assessment Guide for the Facilitation Manual. WRC 2011.

The comprehensive learning package for water harvesting and conservation (WH&C) was developed within a ‘training of trainers’ framework targeting three user groups: 1) learners at training organisations (who will later work with gardeners and farmers) 2) facilitators at training organisations 3) resource-poor gardeners and farmers. The learning package comprises three main parts: 1) A Technical Module covering water, soils and WH&C methods 2) A Facilitation Module covering facilitation techniques within a Participatory Innovation Development approach 3) A set of Farmer’s Handouts with illustrated steps on how to implement the methods. Each of the technical and facilitation modules comprised two volumes. There is a detailed, annotated and illustrated manual for learners, and a Facilitation and Assessment Guide for course facilitators. These are set at the level of NQF 5 on the (new) 10 tier scale. The set of farmers handouts are designed for people with low literacy and are illustrated ‘how-to’ instructions for the water harvesting and conservation methods. The materials were developed in close consultation with key stakeholders to ensure relevance of materials to likely organisations of learning, and to end-user needs. The draft materials were successfully piloted in a formal learning environment and were reviewed by seven agricultural colleges

Authors: Denison J.; Smulders H.; Kruger E.; Ndingi H. & Botha M.    

Organisations: Umhlaba Consulting Group (Pty) Ltd

Free online registration & full document.

 

Standards and guidelines for improved efficiency of irrigation water use from dam wall release to root zone application. WRC 2010.

The activities undertaken during the course of the project have contributed to local knowledge on issues regarding irrigation water use efficiency. The outcomes have created new knowledge in that: • Efficiency refers to the state of a water balance for a defined spatial and temporal area rather than to the value of a performance indicator; and • Improved efficiency is achieved through a process of assessment and targeted actions, rather than general practices. The resulting approach that has been documented in the final report therefore still complies with the original proposed improvement process of “measure; assess; improve; evaluate”. It promotes an investigative approach to improving efficiency, rather than relying only on water accounting. The main output of the project was the compilation of guidelines for improved irrigation water management from dam wall release to root zone application. The guidelines are aimed at assisting both water users and authorities to achieve a better understanding of how irrigation water management can be improved, thereby building human capacity, allowing targeted investments to be made with fewer social and environmental costs. Using lessons learnt during the WRC project, best practices and technologies were introduced and illustrated.

Authors: Reinders F.B.; van der Stoep I.; Lecler N.L.; Greaves K.R.; Vahrmeijer J.T.; Benadé N.; du Plessis F.J.; van Heerden P.S.; Steyn J.M.; Grové B.; Jumman A. & Ascough G.

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Standards and guidelines for improved efficiency of irrigation water use from dam wall release to root zone application. WRC 2010.

The activities undertaken during the course of the project have contributed to local knowledge on issues regarding irrigation water use efficiency. The outcomes have created new knowledge in that: • Efficiency refers to the state of a water balance for a defined spatial and temporal area rather than to the value of a performance indicator; and • Improved efficiency is achieved through a process of assessment and targeted actions, rather than general practices. The resulting approach that has been documented in the final report therefore still complies with the original proposed improvement process of “measure; assess; improve; evaluate”. It promotes an investigative approach to improving efficiency, rather than relying only on water accounting. The main output of the project was the compilation of guidelines for improved irrigation water management from dam wall release to root zone application. The guidelines are aimed at assisting both water users and authorities to achieve a better understanding of how irrigation water management can be improved, thereby building human capacity, allowing targeted investments to be made with fewer social and environmental costs. Using lessons learnt during the WRC project, best practices and technologies were introduced and illustrated.

Authors: Reinders F.B.; van der Stoep I.; Lecler N.L.; Benadé N.; du Plessis F.J.; van Heerden P.S.; Grové B.; Ascough G.W.; Greaves K.R.; Vahrmeijer J.T.; Steyn J.M.; Jumman A.                                                                                                                                                   Organisations: Agricultural Research Council-Institute for Agricultural Engineering; South African Sugarcane Research Institute; MBB Consulting Engineers; NB Systems; Bioresources Consulting; DHI South Africa; PICWAT

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Standards and guidelines for improved efficiency of irrigation water use from dam wall release to root zone application: Main report. WRC 2010.

The activities undertaken during the course of the project have contributed to local knowledge on issues regarding irrigation water use efficiency. The outcomes have created new knowledge in that: • Efficiency refers to the state of a water balance for a defined spatial and temporal area rather than to the value of a performance indicator; and • Improved efficiency is achieved through a process of assessment and targeted actions, rather than general practices. The resulting approach that has been documented in the final report therefore still complies with the original proposed improvement process of “measure; assess; improve; evaluate”. It promotes an investigative approach to improving efficiency, rather than relying only on water accounting. The main output of the project was the compilation of guidelines for improved irrigation water management from dam wall release to root zone application. The guidelines are aimed at assisting both water users and authorities to achieve a better understanding of how irrigation water management can be improved, thereby building human capacity, allowing targeted investments to be made with fewer social and environmental costs. Using lessons learnt during the WRC project, best practices and technologies were introduced and illustrated.

Authors: Reinders F.B.; van der Stoep I.; Lecler N.L.; Greaves K.R.; Vahrmeijer J.T.; Benadé N.; du Plessis F.J.; van Heerden P.S.; Steyn J.M.; Grové B.; Jumman A. & Ascough G.                                                                                                                                                                     Organisations: Agricultural Research Council-Institute for Agricultural Engineering; Bioresources Consulting; South African Sugar Research Institute; DHI South Africa; University of Pretoria ,Department of Plant production and Soil Science; NB Systems; MBB Consulting Engineers; PICWAT; University of Free State, department of Agricultural Economics; South African Sugarcane Research Institute

Free online registration & full document. 

 

Standards and guidelines for improved efficiency of irrigation water use from dam wall release to root zone application: Guidelines. WRC 2010.

The activities undertaken during the course of the project have contributed to local knowledge on issues regarding irrigation water use efficiency. The outcomes have created new knowledge in that: • Efficiency refers to the state of a water balance for a defined spatial and temporal area rather than to the value of a performance indicator; and • Improved efficiency is achieved through a process of assessment and targeted actions, rather than general practices. The resulting approach that has been documented in the final report therefore still complies with the original proposed improvement process of “measure; assess; improve; evaluate”. It promotes an investigative approach to improving efficiency, rather than relying only on water accounting. The main output of the project was the compilation of guidelines for improved irrigation water management from dam wall release to root zone application. The guidelines are aimed at assisting both water users and authorities to achieve a better understanding of how irrigation water management can be improved, thereby building human capacity, allowing targeted investments to be made with fewer social and environmental costs. Using lessons learnt during the WRC project, best practices and technologies were introduced and illustrated.

Authors: Reinders F.B.; van der Stoep I.; Lecler N.L.; Greaves K.R.; Vahrmeijer J.T.; Benadé N.; du Plessis F.J.; van Heerden P.S.; Steyn J.M.; Grové B.; Jumman A. & Ascough G                                                                                                                                                                                      

Organisations: Agricultural Research Council-Institute for Agricultural Engineering; Bioresources Consulting; South African Sugar Research Institute; DHI South Africa; University of Pretoria ,Department of Plant production and Soil Science; MBB Consulting Engineers; University of Free State, department of Agricultural Economics; PICWAT

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Understanding South Africa's most urgent sustainability challenge. WWF 2014.

Introduction

Food, water and energy security forms the basis of a resilient economy, but as a water-scarce country with little arable land and a dependence on coal-fired power and oil imports, South Africa’s economy is testing the limits of its resource constraints....

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