GOINNOWATER is a supra-regional project for the improvement of water and energy management in modernized irrigation of fruit farms, responding to the need to improve and increase the efficiency of the use of these natural resources, as well as the productivity and economic viability of these crops, ultimately guaranteeing the health and sustainability of ecosystems through innovative approaches.
In response to its commitment to the environment through the implementation of sustainable agricultural practices, the GOINNOWATER team bases its strategy on the use of technology and research to develop an open source computer program to calculate the efficiency of natural resource use through different management indicators. This program detects inefficiencies at the land-plot scale, applying benchmarking techniques. It also proposes measures for optimizing the management of water and energy resources and improving the competitiveness of fruit farms.
Despite the achievements in irrigation modernization in recent years, Spain does not currently have a data flow between Cooperatives and Irrigation Communities that allows for measurement and improvement of the efficiency of water and energy use, in a context aggravated by climate change and scarce rainfall.
GOINNOWATER established its mission after verifying this shortcoming in the irrigation farming sector. Their approach establishes relationships between farmers, managers of the irrigation communities and cooperatives and research staff, proposing employment of management indices and comparative evaluation as a potential method for identifying effective techniques to improve the productivity of irrigated crops, whether on large farms or on smaller plots whose size limits their access costly technology such as soil moisture sensors.
The GOINNOWATER Operational Group is funded by the National Rural Development Program (2014-2020) to carry out the project. The Operational Groups are key factors in the development of the European Association for Innovation in the field of productive and sustainable agriculture. The aim of this association of actors from different sectors is to form groups with the common objective of solving particular problems by developing innovations through participatory co-creative processes and joint action methodologies.
In the case of GOINNOWATER, the Operational Group is supra-regional, with members from three autonomous communities that have large areas of irrigated fruit crops and significant water deficits due to the lack of rainfall in their territories. The members of each community are:
- Murcia: Moval Agroingeniería
- Valencian Community: Foia del Pou Irrigation Community, Universidad Miguel Hernández de Elche, Campus Gandia-Universitat Politècnica de València and Agro-food Cooperatives of the Valencian Communit
- Andalusia: Universidad de Almería
This project also foresees transferring its results to other geographical areas, crops and irrigation systems in order to achieve an efficient use of water and energy resources, which will improve the competitiveness of agricultural holdings and contribute to the reduction of CO2 emission levels by reducing energy use.
Campus Gandia UPV hosted the initial project meeting on January 17, where the representatives of the member organizations of the Operational Group gathered together.
The members of the Campus team, led by Bernat Roig, are Enrique Sigalat and Jaime Lloret, who will carry out the preparation and execution tasks for the successive participatory workshops to design the tool to be implemented. The UPV team also participates in the design and analysis of the indicators that will measure the efficiency in the use of water and energy in each plot of land, indicators that will be crucial for the execution of the project.
As part of its program, the Operational Group also plans to hold informative meetings to showcase the use of the program, irrigation management and the improvement of the efficiency of the use of water, energy and nitrogen fertilization.
This initiative has been selected with a grant for the execution of innovation projects of general interest by operating groups of the European Association for Innovation in Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (AEI-AGRI), within the call for the year of the sub-measure. 16.2 (for a maximum eligible amount of € 301,504.39, 80% of which is co-financed by the European Agrarian Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and by the General State Administration of the Government of Spain by 20%), within the National Program of Rural Development 2014-2020 (PNDR).
RDI Management and Promotion Officer at Campus Gandia Campus