عنوان مقاله [English]
Despite the population increase and the need to produce more fruit to meet per capita consumption of fruits, non-compliance of cropping pattern to the available water resources in a region, especially in water scarce areas, led to reduction in the production of horticultural crops in recent years. In this research, the most appropriate cropping pattern of the horticultural crops in Sistan and Baluchestan province was determined based on the concept of virtual water. Calculations were done using a 12-year period (2000- 2011) data of yield and crop sown area of 32 horticultural crops, irrigation and climate of different counties of the province. Totally, 81% of the area under cultivation of horticultural crops in the province was allotted to tropical, subtropical and dry fruits. Having consumed about 30% of the total water allocated to the horticultural crops of the province, dry fruits produce only one percent of the province's fruits. Substituting this group of fruits with fine fruits in Khash and Zahedan counties, will increase gardening income by 2810 $ ha-1 while reducing water consumption by about 10.2 thousand cubic meters. Fine fruits have the first priority for cultivation in the province followed by tropical, subtropical, pome, nucleate and dry fruits. Removal dry fruits from cropping pattern will save 36.46 million cubic meters of water per year which consequently helps sustainable production of horticultural crops in the Sistan and Baluchistan province. Based on the results, even in the presence of current water - intensive cropping pattern, spatial prioritization of cultivating horticultural crops based on desired criterion can diminish water consumption by gardeners and increase income per unit water consumed. This situation ensures sustainable production of horticultural crops in the province.