The Efficient Use of Water Program provides information, advice and new knowledge to improve the irrigation management. The team has a long research history in the field of irrigation management in several woody species (almond, apple, cherry, vine, olive, peach, pear, hazelnut and walnut) and field crops (maize and alfalfa, as significant). This knowledge enables the use of specific irrigation strategies that produce positive effects on water savings, production, quality and overall irrigation cost reduction.
The program has a long experience in dissemination of knowledge, establishment of pilot projects and collaboration with industry to adopt new research outputs and technologies.
Our goal is to improve irrigation management considering the following aspects: i) crop sustainability, ii) environmental protection and iii) social and economic benefits.
- Irrigation service: Recommendations and irrigation scheduling. Direct operations to farms.
- Evaluation of systems, programming strategies and information and communication technologies (ICT) applied to irrigation. Establishment of demo/pilot plots.
- Development of new knowledge. Experimental design and establishment of field plots on different crops.
- Conducting tests with woody species,vineyards, annual crops, vegetables and ornamentals.
- Intensive monitoring and recording of test data.
- Analysis and evaluation of results.
- Water footprint.
- Optimization of resourcesbased on product traceability and environmental respect.
Efficient use of irrigation water
- Improving irrigation efficiency. Optimization of yield-water ratio.
- Design and establishment of testsfor determination of water requirements and irrigation scheduling.
- Description of production response to increasing applied water. Crop responses to irrigation water quality.
- Optimization of irrigation sectors. Precision Agriculture.
Water management under deficit conditions
- Implications on fruit quality. Tolerance of plants to water stress.
- Crop sensitivity to seasonal water deficit. Defining the appropriate times of the annual cycle to reduce irrigation.
- Mitigation of water stress. What to do in case of drought?
- Irrigation recommendations in deficit conditions.
- Assessment of crop production under conditions of small amounts of water.
- Monitoring of plants and environment.
- Automated irrigation scheduling.
- Application of ICT for irrigation management.
Mineral nutrition and irrigation
- Design and establishment of fertigation testing.
- Analysis of requirements and nutritional strategies of field plants.
- Mineral nutrition and quality of production.
Irrigation management at regional level
- Zonal analysis of plant water status based on remote sensing.Using high resolution thermal imaging to determine irrigation needs.
- Management at the farm and Irrigation District level.
- Modelling water use under changing scenarios.
Transfer. Demonstration plots
- Provide technical advice to irrigators and / or future irrigators.
- Irrigation knowledge dissemination.
- Pilot plot to evaluate new irrigation technologies.