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Farm level optimal Water Management: Assistant for irrigation under deficit

Final Report Summary - FLOWAID (Farm level optimal Water Management: Assistant for irrigation under deficit)

Agriculture is the largest water consumer, which nowadays ought to adopt new irrigation practices due to water resources' shortage, in order to avoid spilling and ensure that sufficient water is used by the irrigated crops. Moreover, investment on new deficit technologies could increase generated income because of the potential yield improvement and the reduction of necessary fertilisers. As such, application of adequate water management practices, facilitated by technology exploitation, became necessary to avoid waste of resources while improving production.

The FLOWAID project aimed to contribute to sustainable irrigated agriculture by developing a deficit irrigation management system for crop production in cases of limited water availability and marginal water quality. Innovative sensor technologies were integrated into a decision support system (DSS), taking into consideration boundary conditions and constraints for a number of practical growing systems in the Mediterranean.

The project focused on the development of innovative, affordable and simple equipment, which was evaluated under numerous scenarios in the field. The DSS included best practice rules, which enabled optimisation of the scheduled irrigational pattern, based on water availability and climatic conditions. Programming was enabled both for the near and distant future.

The case studies proved that the developed technology could raise significantly water efficiency and crop productivity compared to conventional practices. The proposed hardware and software could be utilised by researchers and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) for design and improvement of alternative irrigational options. Moreover, the collaboration with SMEs ensured the technology commercialisation in the foreseeable future. The proposal responded to the needs of both European and international markets, where the demand for irrigational equipment was expected to notably increase in the following years.

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