HANDYWATER project will develop new solutions focused on bottom-up approach, better reflecting the quantitative knowledge of farmers’ current practices in relation to actual and potential crop water use, allowing to translate water efficient practices on a case-by-case basin into farmer practices and adapted to the crop needs. Thus, in the HANDYWATER project, cooperation with water user organisms and small farmers will play a crucial role in learning processes and knowledge sharing. This will open up opportunities to integrate local knowledge and traditional production elements, in order to improve the profitability of irrigation through the adoption of lean irrigation technologies to generate income for smallholders in Mediterranean area.
Specific goals: i) To identify and boost low-cost crop monitoring technologies; ii) To redesign new water-saving solutions for improving irrigation efficiency and economic benefits of Mediterranean crops; iii) To optimise the management of the crop at farm scale; iv) To develop an easy-to-use decision-support tool for enhancing irrigation efficiency at farm scale; v) to test and evaluate the DST in different scenarios; vi) to quantify socio-economic and environmental benefits of the proposed irrigation practices; and vii) to overcome barriers in the adoption of innovative irrigation technologies and practices.
The general objective of the HANDYWATER project is to improve water use efficiency (WUE) in Mediterranean agriculture. In this sense, the project is focused on gaining new knowledge and offering low-cost and lean solutions for enhancing the adoption of efficient irrigation innovations by small farmers, for increasing the environmental and economic sustainability of two different crop productions models, both highly water demanding and widely cultivated in the Mediterranean area, such as citrus (as intensive system) and olive (as rainfed system).
At least N.4 low-cost irrigation innovative technologies and practices for each demo-site will be exported to the Mediterranean farming systems; such as low flow/pressure drippers, sub-surface drip irrigation, RDI/supplemental irrigation and mulching. At least N.1 low-cost soil water content sensors will be implemented and validated for monitoring and scheduling irrigation strategies; At least N.1 low-cost tool based on thermal imaging (from satellite, drone and smartphone) for monitoring crop water status will be developed and tested. N.1 DST including at least N.3 different lean options for reaching water savings, including the widest variability related to the site-specific conditions of the Mediterranean areas involved in the project.
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