Ministry of Agriculture assignment to CSIC: sustainable irrigation

On September 10, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food published the assignment to CSIC through CEBAS for the preparation of the training program for trainers on the scientific-technical guidelines in application of the principle of “Do not cause significant damage to the environment” (DNSH) in the Plan for the Improvement of Efficiency and Sustainability in Irrigation, part of the Recovery and Resilience Funds (RRF). This assignment will count on the collaboration of researchers from the RAMA group of the EEAD of the CSIC and the CITA of the Government of Aragon.

The RRF includes a component for the “Environmental and digital transformation of the agri-food and fisheries systems”. In particular, investments are foreseen “for the improvement of efficiency and sustainability in irrigation”. It is a package of 704 € million for the modernization of sustainable irrigation, with the aim of promoting water conservation and energy efficiency.

This action must respect the DNSH principle. In a previous assignment, in which the group’s researchers also participated, the scientific-technical guidelines were established to ensure compliance with the DNSH.

The new assignment focuses on the development and implementation of the training program for trainers on these guidelines. To this end, training courses will be planned, theoretical and practical content will be developed, defining the nature of trainers and developing multimedia materials and evaluation procedures. Once the program is completed, trainers will subsequently train the staff of the modernized Water Users Associations to comply with the DNSH principle.

In particular, RAMA staff will design courses on surface and underground networks for the control of diffuse agricultural pollution, the efficiency of energy use in pressurized irrigation networks, the use of nitrogen fertilizer in field crops and the soil water balance . Courses pursue the objective of adjusting the irrigation application to the crop water requirements, minimizing the use and cost of pumping energy and rationalizing the use of fertilizers to reduce water pollution.