On 2 December 2016 it was announced that the OPERA proposal, submitted for the WaterWorks2015 ERA-NET Cofunded Call (JPI Water), has been recommended for funding. The project is a collaboration between the Wageningen Environmental Research teams Soil, Water and Land Use (Marius Heinen) and Climate Change and Adaptive Land and Water Management (Claire Jacobs, Jochen Froebrich).
The OPERA project focusses on determining agricultural water needs in Europe and in South Africa. The project will result in an advisory service for the agricultural sector that can lead to better water demand management in times of water scarcity and drought. OPERA will apply a transdisciplinary approach to identify jointly i) user demands of farmers, farmer associations and extension services, ii) best possible combinations of information technologies (sensors, models, remote sensing), and iii) innovative service models to realize a practical transition towards an increased use of precision irrigation in practice. A series of six case studies demanding precision irrigation, increased water use efficiency and resilience are used to research the practitioner needs, ways to increase the robustness of information supply, and concrete local barriers that prevented the transfer of research results into the farmer and water manager practice. Next to a strong cooperation amongst the EU participants (research, public and SME), OPERA will further extend the partnerships between researchers and practitioners from EU member states and southern Africa.
The project consortium partners are:
- Wageningen Environmental Research (Coordinator)
- Instituto de Recursos Naturales y Agrobiologia de Sevilla (IRNAS – CSIC), Spain
- University of Florence (UNIFI – DISPAA), Italy
- Institute of Technology and Life Sciences (ITP), Poland
- Evenor Tech (Evenor), Spain
- Stellenbosch University (SU), South Africa
- Council for Agricultural Research & Analysis of Agricultural Economics (CREA), Italy
- French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA – EMMAH), France