n°34*/19 novembre 2020



Water Savings in Irrigation - Foreword

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Par : SERRA-WITTLING, Claire ; BARALLA, Silvia ; BRAVO DOMINGUEZ, Immaculada ; DRASTIG, Katrin ; GHINASSI, Graziano ; GUILLOT, Stéphane ; NAGY, Attila ; NAGY, Viktor ; POPOVA, Zornitsa ; TOPÇU , Sevilay

How have water abstractions for irrigation in the European Union evolved? What schemes have been implemented in the Member States to save water? What have been the most convincing results and with which innovative practices? During the conference Water saving in irrigation organised in November 2019 in Montpellier, European experts took stock of the situation. Their varied testimonies show that, on a European scale, water savings are possible thanks to the improvement of the overall efficiency of irrigation, by combining technologies (infrastructures, application systems, planning tools) and more efficient practices.

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Par : LAMMENS, Philippe

In a context of global changes that affect territories’ resources and first and foremost water resources (through climate change, but also population growth and the demand for agricultural products), water management for irrigation has become a major concern for the European Union. In this interview, Philippe Lammens, Rural Development programmes manager at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Agriculture, takes stock of the mechanisms implemented under the current and future Common Agricultural Policy to achieve more sustainable water use in agriculture.

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In these exchanges, experts from different professional agricultural institutions and from the French and European administrations address the future of irrigated agriculture in Europe in a context where it is often decried by society and where the issue of climate change is becoming increasingly significant. Each actor’s inputs are focused around three questions: What are the needs and under what conditions should irrigation be developed in France and in Europe? What policy, what projects for irrigated agriculture? Can irrigation performance be improved? 

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Par : CAMBREA, Léonie ; LAFON, Christophe ; MAYOUX, Laurent

In a context of recurring water deficits, rational irrigation of vineyards has been put forward as an appropriate solution to stabilise production (in terms of volume and quality) and to maintain the production tool sustainably. In the Languedoc-Roussillon winegrowing basin, the largest in France, two public aid schemes financed by the European Union have been in place since 2007 to encourage irrigation operators to adopt better practices. The first has led to the installation of an efficient drip irrigation system on more than 23,700 hectares of vines. The second, encouraging farmers to modernise their network, has generated water savings that have been redistributed partly to the water environment and the rest to the creation of new water systems.

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Par : RICCOBONI, Pascale ; ARBEILLE, Sabine

The European Innovation Partnership for Productive and Sustainable Agriculture (EIP-AGRI) is a European Union instrument for promoting innovation in agriculture by bringing research and field practice closer together. Pascale Riccoboni, in charge of the national implementation of EIP-AGRI within the National Rural Network, assesses this initiative and, the research strategy it has created in water and agriculture in France, and Europe.

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The moraine soils of the state of Brandenburg are highly heterogeneous due to the fluctuating inputs of glacial and fluvio-glacial sediments over time. Due to their sandy nature, the agricultural and horticultural use of these soils requires sustained irrigation in a context of increasingly restricted access to water resources. In this article, the authors take a critical look at the various irrigation water saving strategies they have implemented in recent years, with less conclusive results for some innovative experiments, particularly in relation to the recurrent droughts of 2018 and 2019. 

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Par : GONÇALVES, José M. ; FERREIRA, Susana ; EUGÉNIO, Rui ; NUNES, Manuel ; DAMÀSIO, Henrique ; FERREIRA, Isabel

Lis Valley Irrigation District located in the coastal center of Portugal is administered by a users' association which manages the operation and maintenance of the main pumping and water conveyance infrastructures to the plots. As part of a project supported by the agricultural European Innovation Partnership, a study carried out in collaboration with farmers and focusing on the performance of the collective supply network has identified priority courses of action for achieving water savings by reconciling rural development with environmental and economic sustainability.

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Par : SERRA-WITTLING, Claire ; MOLLE, Bruno ; CHEVIRON, Bruno

What is the real potential for water savings at plot level resulting from the change of irrigation equipment or the adoption of management tools in a given context? To answer this question, the authors of this article have compiled more than ninety-three references of experimental water consumption trials representative of a wide range of of soil and climate conditions and crops in metropolitan France. Their results show that the water savings potentially achievable by switching from sprinkling to a localised irrigation system are limited, if not impossible, in very dry years. On the contrary, irrigation control using soil water status sensors allows water savings that are less dependent on climatic conditions. 

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Par : ABANNAR, Kamal ; MAZALEYRAT, Cyrielle ; WEBER, Jean-Jacques ; AUDOUIN, Élise ; BONILLO, Christophe ; DEJEAN, Cyril ; FROMENT, Geoffrey ; LOPEZ, Jean-Marie

In the Coteaux de Gascogne area, farmers, researchers and water service managers are committed to an agro-ecological transition of irrigated farming systems. It is against this background that, in 2019, a pilot project carried out an initial assessment of the agro-economic performance of irrigated cropping systems based on soil conservation farming practices and water-saving irrigation techniques and/or strategies.

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Par : FERREIRA, Maria Isabel ; CARRILHO, Vasco ; CONCEIÇÃO, Nuno ; LOURENÇO, Sonia ; LEAL, Goncalo

After a presentation of the irrigation context in Portugal, the authors of this paper review the robustness of two modelling approaches and their combination to better programme irrigation campaigns at plot scale. Two application cases are presented and discussed: one on a horticultural crop with shallow roots (Capsicum annuum L. 'Pompeo F1') and the other on a woody crop with deep roots (Olea europea 'Arbequina').

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Par : CHEVIRON, Bruno ; SERRA-WITTLING, Claire ; DOMINGUEZ BOHORQUEZ, Juan David ; MOLLE, Bruno ; LO, Madlop ; ELAMRI, Yassin ; DELMAS, Magali

Developed by INRAE, Optirrig is a software tool for generating, analysing and optimising irrigation scenarios. It is based on a simplified description of plant growth according to the evolution of water and nitrogen resources in the soil. It compares the merits of different irrigation strategies according to different constraints (water quota, periods of limited availability, prefectoral decrees, water and energy costs), for operational objectives at the plot, farm or territory level.

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Par : GENDRE, Sophie

Designed by the ARVALIS-Institut du Végétal, Irré-LIS® is a simple water balance model that can be used to control irrigation based on weather conditions and plot data provided by the farmer. The online tool was used to manage thirty-five thousand hectares of irrigated crops in 2019. It is currently operational for potatoes, grain and fodder maize, seed maize, soft wheat, durum wheat, spring barley, tobacco and soya.

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This review takes stock of the various innovations presented by companies at the "Water Savings in Irrigation" conference on 13 and 14 November 2019 in Montpellier. These solutions are offered by the technology sector, in particular in relation to limiting water losses during distribution, but some also come from the digital sector, designed for monitoring crop water requirements and the performance of the irrigation system at plot level.

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Par : SCHOLASCH, Thibaut ; RIENTH, Markus

Assessing the water status of the vine is crucial for optimizing cultivation practices and irrigation strategies while ensuring environmentally and economically sustainable viticulture. In view of the most recent results in the literature, this article critically reviews the main measurement methods carried out directly on plants.  

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Par : MATEOS, Luciano

Improving on-farm irrigation efficiency have many benefits; however, it may mislead policies aiming to increase the availability of water at watershed scale. The effect of improving on-farm efficiency on global efficiency is highly dependent on the hydraulic arrangement of the irrigation units and the degree of reutilization of return flows. Moreover, an improvement of irrigation efficiency may entail an increase of evapotranspiration, contributing to the watershed water depletion. Water policies must take these issues into account.

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Par : GONTARD, François

Drip irrigation, and more subsurface drip irrigation, are particularly popular techniques for irrigating crops in regions where water resources are a major constraint. However, as François Gontard of BRL Exploitation shows, installing this equipment does not guarantee maximum water use efficiency, only highly specialised irrigators are able to fully exploit its potential.

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Water Savings in Irrigation
19 novembre 2020