SWATCH - Strategies for increasing the WATer use efficiency of semi-arid Mediterranean watersheds and agrosilvopastoral systems under climate Change

About Us

The SWATCH project aims to develop and apply innovative methodologies to increase the social-ecological Water Use Efficiency of managed ecosystems along the Mediterranean biome and climate types, in the face of drier and more extremes climates. The SWATCH project relies on 9 study sites which cover a wide range of spatial scales, climate, and ecosystems. Case studies will examine the Mediterranean Sea basin from west to east providing the exceptional opportunity to develop and compare water resources management and planning strategies and develop a wide monitoring network for contrasting climate conditions (mean annual rain from 35 to 780 mm/y) in the Mediterranean region. SWATCH activities are structured into seven interconnected work packages, including WP1 on management and WP7 on dissemination and communication. WP2 deals with the Monitoring of experimental fields and hydrological basins, addressing innovative methodologies for EvapoTranspiration (ET) measurements in typical heterogeneous Mediterranean agrosilvopastoral systems and agricultural environments. It includes innovative eco-hydrologic monitoring approaches in ephemeral rivers and wadis along the Mediterranean biome and climate types, establishing a transnational Mediterranean river monitoring system. WP3 focuses on Ecohydrological modelling. It uses outcomes from WP2 to address innovative ecohydrologic models at several spatial scale. WP4 includes the acquisition of satellite images and the development of a data assimilation systems for assimilating remotely sensed and field data into ecohydrological models at the watershed or agricultural district scales for optimal characterization of soil water balances and the underlying water use efficiency. The data assimilation systems will be integrated in the VDM LSM developed within WP2. WP5 includes the development of land cover change strategies under actual and future climate change scenarios for optimizing the use of water resources, while WP6 includes the development and improvement of water management and planning systems for the optimization of the water infrastructures and uses.

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Period of Implementations

Jan 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2022

Total Budget

EUR 11.310.110,00

OUR IMPACT

Goals

The overarching goal of this research project is to develop and apply innovative methodologies to increase the social-ecological water use efficiency (WUE) of managed ecosystems along the Mediterranean biome and climate types, in the face of drier and more extremes climates. We will focus on a diverse set of seasonally dry ecosystems, spanning a large gradient of mean annual rainfall (from 35 to 935 mm/y) across the Mediterranean biome. Case studies will examine the Mediterranean Sea basin from west to east and north to south providing the exceptional opportunity to develop, identify and compare water resources management and planning strategies for contrasting climate conditions in the Mediterranean region.

Objectives

The overarching goal of this research project is to develop and apply innovative methodologies to increase the social-ecological water use efficiency (WUE) of managed ecosystems along the Mediterranean biome and climate types, in the face of drier and more extremes climates. The specific objectives are: OB1: to develop and implement innovative methodologies for EvapoTranspiration (ET) measurements in typical heterogeneous Mediterranean agrosilvopastoral systems and agricultural environments; OB2: to improve the eco-hydrologic monitoring in ephemeral rivers and wadis along the different Mediterranean biome and climate types, establishing a transnational Mediterranean river monitoring system; OB3: to develop data assimilation systems for assimilating remotely sensed and field data into ecohydrological models at the watershed or agricultural district scales for optimal characterization of soil water balances (water content, storages and transfers) and the underlying water use efficiency; OB4: to identify the impacts of contrasting vegetation and crop types on the soil water balance, surface runoff, and water use under current and past Mediterranean climates; OB5: to predict the impact of future climate scenarios on soil water balance, runoff, and water use; OB6: to develop a set of land cover change strategies (e.g. forestations/deforestation, use of more water use efficient crops and woody vegetation) for climate change scenarios that optimize the use of water resources and increase the resilience of agricultural and agrosilvopastoral systems; OB7: to improve the multipurpose and multiuser water resources management and planning systems for the optimization of the waterresources and increase the resilience of agricultural and agrosilvopastoral systems; OB7: to improve the multipurpose and multiuser water resources management and planning systems for the optimization of the water infrastructure (e.g., reservoirs, groundwater recharge, water harvesting) and uses (irrigation, animal production systems, drinking and industrial activities), and management and planning under current and future climate change scenarios while preserving natural ecosystems.

Impact Pathway

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