Technology supports growers to cope with water shortage challenges.

Water shortage forces growers to irrigate with less water or even with water of a lower quality. To avoid crop damage and income losses they need to manage their water and fertilizers more precisely. This may also reduce nutrient leaching, one of the major aims of the Water Framework Directive (WFD). New knowledge and technology to help growers to make the best possible operational decisions has been developed In the FLOW-AID project.

Agriculture is the largest user of water in the world. Irrigation water use efficiency must be increased drastically to secure food production for future generations, in other words: we need ‘more crop per drop’. The general approach is to avoid water loss and to ensure that all irrigation water is being utilized by the crop. However, in many cases this is not enough.

Working under deficit conditions means that the grower needs to operate his water management more precisely to prevent income losses. In the FLOW-AID project scientists of universities and research stations have co-operated with engineering companies to develop new systems and technologies for irrigation and drainage. The program has now resulted in innovative sensor technologies, which are integrated into a grower decision support system. The system has been evaluated at sites located in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain and over the years it has been improved. The fi nal system has been demonstrated to growers during the third year at the test sites.

The case studies have shown that the introduction of innovative technologies may raise water use efficiency by up to 60% while maintaining existing crop yields. The use of fertilizers may be reduced by up to 30%, which reduces costs and saves the environment. It has been shown that in fact yields often increase thanks to the new water management system. Growers might use this extra income for investments in new technologies.

This site presents all newly developed technologies in the FLOW-AID project and illustrates the promising case study results. We are convinced that FLOW-AID can help growers in meeting future water constraints and that our effort for “more crop per drop” will advance sustainable water use.

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