Interreg IR2MA: meeting in Bari for the sustainable water management

The second meeting of the project, Ir2ma- “Large Scale Irrigation Management Tools for Sustainable Water Management in Rural Areas and Protection of Receiving Aquatic Ecosystems”,  was held on 14-15 March 2019 at the National Research Council –Institute of Sciences of Food Production (CNR – ISPA) of Bari (Italy)

IR2MA project, co-financed by European Union, Interreg V-A Greece-Italy Programme 2014-2020for 1 million euros, has as main objectives the implementation of advanced smart decision support systems (DSS) for irrigation management, the definition of optimal strategies for the reuse of purified wastewater for the production of safe and high-quality horticultural products, as well as the transfer of technological solutions suitable for optimization of the water resources use.

The project involves for the Italian side CNR-ISPA, Consorzio Bonifica della Capitanata (CBC), the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari (CIHEAMB) and the Puglia Region as an Associate partner, and on the Greek side the University of Ioannina and the Region of Epirus.

Among the several ways to use water, irrigation represents  the largest quantity (even up to 70% of the total used volume ). Therefore, considering the problem of the climate changes and the effects that it could determine on the future scenarios in agriculture, it is essential to put in place suitable strategies  for optimizing the irrigation practice, avoiding water reservoir pollution and contamination and, where possible, taking advantage of unconventional water usage, for example by reusing wastewater.

On the first day, the project achievements so far and the planning of actions to be undertaken for the profitable implementation of the activities were discussed.

During the second day, a technical visit was organized by Consorzio Bonifica della Capitanata. The operation of the water supply systems of the Left Ofanto district was illustrated.
In particular, the operation of the Capacciotti dam in the countryside of Cerignola was described, an accumulation and storage site for water of the Ofanto river, the San Samuele irrigation center and the compensation tanks upstream of the distribution network serving the irrigation districts. The operation of automated delivery groups was illustrated. This system allows farmers to draw irrigation water by using an electronic card. This advanced system is of particular interest for the territory of neighboring Greece, in perfect accordance with the spirit of theproject which promotes exchange of know-how, competence and good practices.

The itinerary ended with a visit to the accumulation and storage basin of approximately 950,000 cubic meters of recycled wastewater coming from the purification and refining plant in the nearby Municipality of Trinitapoli.