The impact of agricultural irrigation on landslide triggering: A review from chinese, english, and Spanish literature

Pablo Garcia-Chevesich, Xiaolu Wei, Juana Ticona, Gisella Martínez, Julia Zea, Vilma García, Francisco Alejo, Yao Zhang, Hanna Flamme, Andrew Graber, Paul Santi, John McCray, Edgard Gonzáles, Richard Krahenbuhl

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Landslides are considered a natural process, with hundreds of events occurring every year in many regions of the world. However, human activities can significantly affect how stable a slope or cliff is, increasing the chances of slope collapses. Moreover, agricultural irrigation has potential to saturate subsurface materials well below ground level and is known to be an important factor that can trigger landslides in many countries. A macroregional literature review of irrigation-induced landslides was developed in this investigation, considering what has been published in Chinese, English, and Spanish. A total of 115 peer-reviewed papers, books and book chapters, graduate and undergraduate theses, and government reports were found, including 82 case studies (23 in Chinese, 26 in English, and 33 in Spanish). Results from this analysis indicate that studies focusing on this important topic have increased exponentially since the 1960s, with most irrigation-induced landslides occurring in dry climates (precipitation less than 600 mm/year), with rainfall concentrated during summer months. The majority of studies have been done in the loess region of China (Asian region), followed by Peru (Latin American region), though cases were found from other macroregions (African, Indian, Russian, Angloamerican, and Indonesian). Based on this global review, new agricultural irrigation projects located in collapsible areas must include a landslide risk analysis. Cultivated areas can follow a series of measures to minimize the chances of triggering a landslide, which would put human lives, ecosystems, food production, and infrastructure at risk.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

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© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Agriculture
  • Irrigation
  • Landslides
  • Review
  • Slope stability


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