FAO-AQUASTAT states that in Greece and Italy about 70% and 40% of the available water resources are used for irrigation purposes respectively. According to directive 2000/60/EC, action is needed to protect water in qualitative and quantitative terms. Among the several actions that can contribute to the protection of water is the optimization of irrigation management. The advantage of this approach can be found in its efficiency regarding the outcome/cost relationship. The general objective of IRMA is to establish a network of knowledge and expertise exchange which will lead to the development of practical irrigation management tools for demand-driven capitalization of scientific knowledge and good practices.
IRMA will be carried out by SME’s support organisations, regional authorities, universities and research institutes. The partnership is consisted by: Greece: Technological Educational Institution of Epirus-RC (TEIEP, LP), Decentralised Administration of Epirus–Western Macedonia (ROEDM, PP6) and Development Enterprise of Achaia- Region of Western Greece (NEA, PP2); Italy: Region of Puglia (ROP, PP5), Instituto Nazionale di Economia Agraria / Bari Branch (INEA, PP3) and Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche - Istituto di Scienze delle Produzioni Alimentari / Bari Branch (ISPA, PP4).
In order to achieve the project’s objectives the following activities will be carried out: a) Development of networking -expertise transfer mechanisms; b) Survey regarding the local irrigation practice (legislation, administration, delivery and distribution systems, applied techniques etc); c) Development, application and evaluation of tools which will lead to direct shift of efficiency of agricultural and landscape irrigation (auditing procedures, web information system, creation of knowledge and practical guidance regarding irrigation scheduling, counseling for draught tolerant cultivations, sensors for irrigation management and alternative sources of water) and d) Actions for public consciousness building and professional training-certification regarding strategies and methods for efficient irrigation management.
The project outputs include irrigation survey, application manuals, development of a web tool based on meteorological data, satellite images and GIS mapping for irrigation management counseling, research results and creation of a networking and training platform. These will lead to direct water, energy and thus money savings.
The outputs because of their character have the potential to be directly implemented in broader areas of both countries. The project is expected to benefit productive agricultural SMEs, agricultural counseling SMEs and local communities by contributing in considerable water and energy savings from improved irrigation efficiency and development of strong cross-border links between agricultural stakeholders, public administration authorities and academic-research institutions in the field of irrigation management.