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Deficit irrigation for Mediterranean agricultural systems


Irrigation uses about 80% of all water diverted for various uses in the Mediterranean. Nevertheless, increased demand for other uses coupled with water scarcity is putting unprecedented pressures on reducing the share of freshwater used in irrigation. Give n the degree of scarcity in many areas of the Basin, if irrigation water use could be reduced, it could become a major water source, thus releasing resources for alternative use. The objective of this project is to evaluate the concept of deficit irrigatio n (DI) as a means of reducing irrigation water use while maintaining or increasing farmers profits. The DI concept will be the subject of multidisciplinary research at different scales, geographic locations, and with different perennial and annual crops. T he objective will be to develop a workable, comprehensive set of irrigation (DI) strategies that can be disseminated quickly among the various agricultural systems of the Mediterranean Region. The project addresses directly the first topic of the INCO-2002 -B1.2 specific measure, 'research on sustainable irrigation, including deficit irrigation'. Eleven partners from seven different countries (Greece, Italy, Jordan, Morocco, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey), including research and water association institutions wi ll work for three years on the project. Their main activities will be: a) the development of a general summary model of crop yield as a function of water supply, b) the validation of the model for the main irrigated annual (wheat, sunflower, cotton,) and p erennial crops (olive, pistachio, citrus), using common research protocols, c) a survey on physical, socio-economic and cultural conditions for each crop and irrigated area, and d) scaling up by combining the yield model with economic optimization modules that will generate optimum DI strategies compatible with the specific socio-economic characteristics of each area under study. The results of the project will provide #'

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Alfonso XIII, 13

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