In irrigated areas in the NIS and Southern European States, inefficient use of onventional water resources occurs through incomplete wetting of soils, which causes accelerated runoff and preferential flow, and also through excessive evaporation associate d with unhindered capillary rise. Furthermore, a largely unexploited potential exists to save conventional irrigation water by supplementation with organic-rich waste water, which, if used appropriately, can also lead to improvements to soil physical pro perties and soil nutrient and organic matter content. This project aims to (a) reduce irrigation water losses by developing, evaluating and promoting techniques that improve the wetting properties ofsoils, and (b) investigate the use of organic-rich wast e water as a non-conventional water resource in irrigation and, in addition, as a tool in improving soil physical properties and soil nutrient and organic matter content.Key activities include (i) identifying, for the NIS and Southern European States, th e soil type/land use combinations, for which the above approaches are expected to be most effective and their implementation most feasible, and (ii) examining the water saving potential, physical, biological and chemical effects on soils of the above app roaches, and their impact on performance. This will be carried out using field trials in NIS and Southern European States and, where applicable, under more tightly controllable laboratory conditions. Expected outputs include techniques for sustainableimp rovements in soil wettability management as a novel approach in water saving, detailed evaluation of the prospects and effects of using supplemental organic-rich waste waters in irrigation, an advanced process-based numerical hydrological model adapted to quantify and upscale resulting water savings and nutrient and potential contaminant fluxes, and identification of suitable areas in the NIS and Southern European States.
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