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Irrigation water saving by replacing the traditional irrigation system by an Adjusted Regulated Deficit Irrigation one

Project description

A breakthrough smart irrigation protocol

Water scarcity represents a new challenge for agriculture. Existing irrigation systems are insufficient and costly. Farmers are searching for alternative and effective irrigation systems that do not affect the quality of their products. The Spanish company Galpargo has developed the regulated deficit irrigation (RDI) protocol for olive trees. It estimates the water needs of olive plants and reduces irrigation to the minimum necessary level. The EU-funded HydSOS project aims to develop a sensor that continuously estimates the olive tree water potential to permit the replacement of previous techniques. This sensor will allow the effective application of the RDI protocol in olive trees on the first level and other plants later.


At present and more so in the future, irrigated agriculture will take place under water scarcity. Insufficient water supply for irrigation will be the norm rather than the exception, and irrigation management will shift from emphasizing production per unit area towards maximizing the production per unit of water consumed, the water productivity.
To cope with scarce supplies, Galpagro has developed and tested a Regulated Deficit Irrigation (RDI) protocol for the olive plant using the Scholander pressure chamber as a tool for estimating the plant tissues water potential. Thanks to our RDI irrigation system, the water restriction is limited to drought-tolerant stages, often the vegetative stages and the late ripening period. So, it makes possible the reduction of spent water up to 40 % without prejudicing the production and the quality of fruits. Furthermore, to enhance this novel irrigation system, we need to develop a continuous measurement sensor which will be able to replace the Scholander pressure chamber (discontinuous method). This sensor will make easier and more efficient the implementation of RDI protocol in olive tree and latter to other crops, and also, will reduce the overall costs. To date, there don’t exist in the market any method or sensor able to estimate in continuous the olive trunk water potential, which would make possible the integration of our RDI protocol immediately to the market. In this regard, Galpagro is collaborating with other specialized companies to develop the continuous-online sensor.
Our target customers will be the individual farmers of any size and/or cooperatives who are willing to pay for a differentiate and effective irrigation system which will reduce them irrigation costs (water quantity), without prejudicing the production and fruit quality.
This Feasibility Study’s goal is to deepen in those critical points to assess the economic, technical and commercial viability of HydSOS, to tackle this challenge for us to scale-up.

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Net EU contribution
€ 50 000,00

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Sur Andalucía Córdoba
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 71 429,00