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Water Research

The cross-cutting Research Area on WATER at IRTA is participated by several Scientific Programs: Efficient Use of Water (EUA), Environmental Horticulture (EH), Aquatic Ecosystems (AE) and Agrofood and Environmental Economics (CREDA). Researchers and technicians closely collaborate to develop applied technologies and methods to increase water use efficiency at the plot/orchard/landscape level, to minimise the environmental impacts of farming on aquatic ecosystems and to promote a sustainable use of water resources in semi-arid regions.


Efficient Use of Water Programme

  • Efficient Use of Water. Evaluation of field and orchard water requirements. Irrigation management strategies to increase water use efficiency.
  • Water Management under Deficit Conditions. How to obtain the maximum benefits of reduced amounts of water. Seasonal plant sensitivity to water stress.
  • Mineral and Irrigation Nutrition. Interactions of nutrients and water on plants and their fruits.
  • Irrigation Engineering. Implementing the know-how in an easy way to facilitate farmer’s irrigation management.
  • Regional Scale Irrigation Control. Develop knowledge, information and technologies to manage irrigation water at regional scale.

Environmental Horticulture Programme

  • Optimization of horticultural crop productivity under Mediterranean conditions with a scientific, technical and environmental approach. Life cycle analysis and water and carbon footprint in horticultural practices.
  • Ecophysiology as a tool for precision agriculture and for the characterization of plant responses to wild or anthropogenic environments.
  • Optimization of irrigation with non-conventional waters resources.
  • Study of water, carbon and nitrogen flows in interfaces between crops and other habitats, under global change conditions.
  • Evaluation and improvement of the environmental impact caused by horticultural systems.

Aquatic Ecosystems Programme

  • Analysis of impacts of farming activities on aquatic ecosystems.
  • Use of bio-indicators for the assessment of the ecological quality of water bodies.
  • Determination of environmental flow requirements for rivers and estuaries.
  • Study and management of invasive species in aquatic ecosystems.

Agrofood and Environmental Economics Programme

  • Traditional Cost-Benefit Analysis, where alternative scenarios on prices could be developed.
  • Extended Cost-Benefit Analysis, where alternative management systems and price scenarios could be considered.
  • Farmer’s rate of adoption of alternative irrigation technologies. Use of economic theory based models paying special attention to farmers’ risk attitudes
  • Analysis of technical and economic efficiency at farm level.
  • Elaboration of indicators of sustainability taking into account the economic, environmental and social dimensions, and the social impact of new technologies.