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The project aims to a participative development of water stress mitigation strategies for sustainable agriculture in the Mediterranean, in this case for the Tadla irrigation perimeter in Morocco.
Details of project plan
In a research framework consisting of 36 partners from 17 countries, Alterra, Wageningen UR developed and applied a remote sensing algorithm to characterize crop water stress. The algorithm delivers accurate estimations of actual evapotranspiration, which give insight in water consumption, crop water stress, and production levels of crops. Together with stakeholders in the Oum Er Rbiaa river basin, water stress mitigation strategies are formulated, tested and evaluated. Agro-hydrological modelling is used to demonstrate the effects of implementing options, such as changed cropping patterns and/or a shift in irrigation technologies. Future situations for Tadla are reflected in simulations based on expected climate changes and national policies such as the National Water Saving Program.
The AquaStress process and results are of wide relevance:
• the tools and methods applied were selected in accordance to the EU legislation provisions and guidelines (e.g. public participation process based on Water Framework Directive guidelines);
• the process followed (e.g. characterization of water stress, selection of mitigation options, guidelines for applying and evaluating options etc) is coherent and adjustable to any conditions;
• the evaluation results can be taken into account while modifying existing water policies or framing new policy.
Clearly, the potential water saving volumes estimated are large and stress the potential for policy action at EU level. Water savings will help
addressing water scarcity and droughts.