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Water saving potential in agriculture in Europe

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Water saving potential in agriculture in Europe Findings from the existing studies and application to case studies. EEA Water Resource Efficiency Workshop Copenhagen, Denmark, 16-17 June 2011. A study being conducted for DG ENV by Bio Intelligence Service

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Water saving potential in agriculture in Europe

Findings from the existing studies and application to case studies

EEA Water Resource Efficiency Workshop

Copenhagen, Denmark, 16-17 June 2011

A study being conducted for DG ENV by Bio Intelligence Service

in cooperation with Cranfield University and RPA

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Objectives of the project

Objectives

  • Current situation regarding water in agriculture in Europe
    • water abstraction, consumption and use
    • water saving drivers/options
  • Compile case studies of practical implementation of water saving measures in agriculture
    • to assess what solutions would help address the problem in the EU, where and how

Task structure

Task 1: Review of water abstraction and consumption by agriculture

Task 2: Analysis of drivers in water savings in agriculture

Task 5: Identification of most viable solutions to water savings

Task 3: Analysis of relevant studies

Task 4: Case studies from specific river basins

2

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Task 1Goals and methodology

Task 1: Review of current water abstraction, use and consumption by agriculture in the EU

Approach

  • Database presenting figures:
    • by Member State,
    • by river basin district (RBD) and/or
    • by region (when RBD are not available)
  • Desk study based on the following sources of information:
    • Eurostat and national statistical offices
    • Circa library
    • Basin Management Plans 2009-2015 and websites of the River Basins Districts
    • Grey literature: European, National and Regional projects reports
    • Peer reviewed papers via scientific search engines (ScienceDirect, IngentaConnect, etc.)
  • Draft database sent to the RBN experts of water for checks and complements

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Task 1

Glossary

Glossary

    • Water abstraction (or water withdrawn) for agriculture

Volume of freshwater physically removed from its natural site of occurrence (from surface or groundwater resources) either permanently or temporarily for agriculture purpose (irrigation, livestock, etc).

    • Water use in agriculture difficulties in definition

Water use means the total volume of water needed to satisfy the different agricultural purposes, including volumes ‘lost’ during transport, for example leaks from pipes and evaporation, and in-stream uses (such as environmental flows).

    • Water consumption in agriculture

Volume of water abstracted (or withdrawn) which does not return to the water it was abstracted from because it has evaporated or transpired, been incorporated into products and crops, consumed by man or livestock, discharged to another basin or the sea, or returned to the water source in a condition that precludes it from subsequent use.

  • NB: Data on water consumption is rare and data providers use sometimes similar definitions for the different terms

4

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Task 1 – Results

Total water abstraction for agriculture in EU27

  • Highest values for total water abstraction for agriculture is obtained in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, France and Poland
  • Lowest values for total water abstraction obtained in Luxembourg, Slovenia, Estonia

5

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Task 1 – Results

Total water use for agriculture in EU27

  • Fewer figures available for water use compared to water abstraction
  • Highest values for total water abstraction obtained in Italy and Greece
  • Lowest values for total water use obtained in Latvia, Slovenia, Estonia

6

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Irrigation systems

Irrigation systems (sprinkler, left; drip irrigation, centre;and flood irrigation, right)

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Task 2 - Analysis of drivers in water saving in agriculture

Addressing Hydrological Losses

Storage, Conveyance, Transpiration, Evaporation, Runoff and Drainage

DRIVERS

Encouraging the Use of Alternative Waters

Water reuse, Water harvesting and On-farm storage

Promoting Incentive Actions

Allocation, Audit, Pricing, Consumer Pressure, Dissemination and Water Productivity

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Task 2 - Analysis of drivers in water saving in agriculture

Main Means of Actions

Techniques

Low pressure piping systems

Shift to drip irrigation

Sub-surface drip irrigation

Automation

Uniform application

Water Reuse

ManagementPractices

Improved scheduling

Crop selection

Private to centrally controlled systems

Measuring and Monitoring

Water harvesting

Communication

Awareness of farmer behaviour

Water footprint

Technical workshop and local support

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Task 2 - Analysis of drivers in water saving in agriculture

Main Potential Constraints

Field Constraints

Suitability of crop

Soil constraints

Limited volumes

Shift of hydrological losses

Need of Support / Framework

Authorities and public powers

Local lobby

Learning time for farmers

Public Perception

Health risks

Pricing equity issues

Costs

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Task 3 – Relevant studies

Task 3: Analysis of relevant studies

Studies are being selected:

  • covering different drivers/options
  • covering different MS
  • covering different types of agriculture

To be summarised to provide information on how the drivers can be used, where, and their limits.

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