There is a need to achieve a better understanding of the interactions between land use and climate and their effect on water resources in order to improve long-term sustainable water use. This is especially relevant in the European Union Mediterranean (EUM) region, which is a major climate change hotspot due to water scarcity, concentration of activities, and reliance on climate-sensitive resources. Irrigated agriculture is the largest (blue) water user in the EUM, accounting for more than 50% of total water withdrawal, largely doubling the EU average. Among non-extractive water uses, forests and rainfed agriculture have the largest (green) water footprint and play a fundamental role on the allocation of effective rainfall between green- and blue-water flows, determining the water availability for other uses.
INNOMED’s main objective is to develop and apply a multidisciplinary approach to quantify the physical and economic effects of alternative management options in forestry and agriculture on the catchment's water balance, in order to ensure efficient water use systems and practices in both sectors and to promote sustainable water management solutions at the catchment level.
Catchment-wide water balance analysis – State-of-the-art modules were implemented into current eco-hydrological models to allow simulation of management options in forest and irrigated agriculture.
Field monitoring – Field monitoring of key aspects of the land water cycle were carried out in the pilot study areas, utilising and improving current monitoring facilities including cutting-edge technologies such as sensor networks.
Field-scale water conserving agriculture and forestry practices – Controlled deficit irrigation field trials were carried out on economically relevant model crops in order to determine water productivity curves. Water saving under different management options was determined and the differences in water use efficiency and crop quality traits was determined. Isotopic tree-ring analysis was used to determine drought resilience and water use efficiency of forest stands before and after thinning.
Economic water modelling – An integrated physical modelling and economic valuation analysis was conducted in order to provide a reliable estimation of the rent of green- and blue-water in agricultural market goods.
Participatory approach – Stakeholder forums were conducted in the study sites since the early stages of the project to promote a dialogue between scientists, land users, water managers, and other relevant actors in the forestry and agriculture sectors.
*At the time of the proposal. Please consider this data as an accurate estimate; it may vary during the project’s lifespan.
Total costs include in kind contribution by grant holders and can therefore be higher than the total requested funding.