MEDWATERICE - Towards a sustainable water use in Mediterranean rice-based agro-ecosystems

About Us

MEDWATERICE ('Towards a sustainable water use in Mediterranean rice-based agro-ecosystems'; https://www.medwaterice.org/), is a 3-years project selected in the context of the PRIMA Programme (PRIMA-Section 2-2018; Topic: 1.1.3: Irrigation technologies and practices). MEDWATERICE aims to explore the sustainability of innovative rice irrigation methods and technologies in the Mediterranean basin, in order to reduce rice water use and environmental impacts, and to extend rice cultivation outside of traditional paddy areas to meet the growing demand. The MEDWATERICE consortium includes universities, research centres and private companies operating in the Mediterranean area (IT, ES, PT, EG, TR, IL). Case studies (CSs) are implemented in pilot farms of the countries involved in the project. Tested alternative irrigation methods and technologies adopted in each CS are being tailored to local conditions using a participatory action research approach through the establishment of Stake-Holder Panels in each country. Data collected at the farm level are extrapolated to the irrigation district level to support water management decisions and policies. Indicators for quantitative assessment of environmental, economic and social sustainability of the irrigation options are also being defined. Outcomes produced by MEDWATERICE are expected to generate knowledge on how to improve sustainability of rice production in the countries of the Mediterranean area, with particular attention to the adoption of water-saving techniques.

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Period of Implementations

Apr 1, 2019 - Mar 31, 2023

Total Budget

EUR 1.723.482,68

OUR IMPACT

Goals

The main aim of MEDWATERICE is to provide the knowledge base to simultaneously improve water saving and environmental sustainability of rice agro-ecosystems in Mediterranean countries, while maintaining crop productivity, product quality and safety, and soil fertility. Outcomes produced by MEDWATERICE are expected to generate knowledge on how to improve sustainability of rice production in the countries of the Mediterranean area, with particular attention to the adoption of water-saving techniques.

Objectives

Specific objectives of the MEDWATERICE project are: 1. Collect and harmonize existing data regarding irrigation water consumption and environmental impacts of rice cultivation in the main rice producing countries of the Mediterranean basin. 2. Identify, through a participatory process, major problems facing rice production in each country, and select the most appropriate irrigation management options and technologies for each situation. 3. Test the most promising on-farm irrigation management options to address the main global and country-specific problems. In each case, the most appropriate technologies (e.g. sensors, automated gates, irrigation equipment), rice varieties and agronomic practices will be adopted, while their impact on water use efficiency, environment and on-farm economy will be quantified. 4. Investigate the feasibility and effects of using treated wastewater in the irrigation of rice. 5. Upscale the impact of improved on-farm water use efficiency to the irrigation district level. 6. Define appropriate techno-economic, social and environmental indicators to assess the sustainability of the different rice irrigation options at the farm and district scales. 7. Assess the impact of alternative rice irrigation options on food security (in Egypt) and product safety (all the countries). 8. Identify the barriers to the adoption of irrigation innovations and propose actions to overcome the obstacles. 9. Raise awareness about water use and environmental protection as crucial issues.

Impact Pathway

Outcomes generated by MEDWATERICE are aimed at injecting tailored and updated knowledge to improve the sustainability of rice production in the countries of the Mediterranean area, with particular attention to the adoption of water-saving techniques. The MEDWATERICE consortium believes that the main barriers/obstacles to the achievement of the expected impacts are the economic sustainability of the proposed innovations and their social acceptance. For this reason, the project will: carry out an overall sustainability assessment of the irrigation solutions (including the economic dimension); be developed in close cooperation with the SHPs in all the project’s phases, to improve the communication among all the actors involved and the transfer of project’s results to the agricultural sector and decision makers; include the preparation and dissemination of technical best practice documents to support the effective implementation of irrigation solutions.

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