The project will focus on combatting water shortage at the farm scale and territory level by developing applicable service models for decision support in irrigation.
Due to changing weather patterns higher risks are related to crop production. Adequate, timely and spatially differentiated measurements of soil moisture become more important for farmers to make decisions on if, when and how to irrigate. The project will focus on combatting water shortage at the farm scale and territory level by developing applicable service models for decision support in irrigation. Worldwide significant progress has been made to utilize precision irrigation as means to increase water use efficiency (more crop per drop) or decrease water foot print in irrigated agriculture. Overall this progress is restricted to application at field scale and integration precision irrigation in the planning of water resource use at territory scale is still a challenge. Point information, such as resulting from sensors, is still difficult to be transferred to a larger spatial unit. Remote sensing algorithms to estimate evapotranspiration are available but often not at sufficient resolution, and do not provide predictions on upcoming water use. More experience needs to be gained in combining technologies and scales. When adequately fused with terrestrial measurements these mapping tools offer decision support for agricultural water management. Up to now, acquiring data, analysis, fusion and modelling are yet merely scientific abstractions without a direct link to operational water management. OPERA aims to bring advances from remote sensing, soil moisture monitoring and forecasting rapidly towards implementation and commercialization. A series of 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, alternative cops, and concrete local barriers that had prevented the transfer of research results into the farmer and water manager practice.