Kick-off meeting IR2MA project: Sustainable Water Management in Rural Areas in Puglia Region and in Greece

The Kick-off meeting of the project IR2MA – Large Scale Irrigation Management Tools for Sustainable Water Management in Rural Areas and Protection of Receiving Aquatic Ecosystems, co-funded for 1 Million euro by the Interreg V-A Greece-Italy Programme 2014-2020, was held on 14-15 May in Arta.

A fruitful cooperation between scientific research and Italian and Greek policymakers will improve the water management, in particular the irrigation-drainage systems, in order to reduce contamination of receiving aquatic ecosystems.  Lead Partner of the project is Technological Educational Institute of Epirus (TEIEP) Department of Agricultural Technology Laboratory of Agricultural Engineering & Natural Resources Management; the project partners are the Region of Epirus, the National Council of Research_Institute of Sciences of Food Production (IT), Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari, CBC_Consorzio per la Bonifica della Capitanata (IT). Associated partner: Puglia Region, Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environmental Protection.

IR2MA project capitalizes the results of the previous project IRMA, already funded during the 2007-2013 Programming Period: the application of a common decision support system (DSS) for water management at end-user level will promote cooperation among the involved stakeholders.

With this project Greece and Italy try to put in practice the rules of the directive 2000/60/EC in order to protect water both in qualitative and quantitative terms. The major water use in the programme area is in the field of agriculture. Efficient management in large participatory irrigation-drainage systems as well as at end-user level will improve the water usage and control of drainage. The latest transfer contaminants generated from fertilizers, plant protection materials etc. to underground aquifers and surface aquatic receivers. Central participatory systems in Epirus are characterized by low technological level of infrastructure and poor management. The Italian irrigation system of Capitanata (Foggia) is considered one of the most advanced in the programme area. It applies state of the art infrastructure and management systems and it also applies for years a water management DSS for end-users. IAMB holds several expertise regarding management of irrigation-drainage systems and they will bring a wide know-how to the project. In this framework, activities regarding measurement of water quantity and quality, flood alarms, DSS application etc. will be applied. IAMB, ISPA/CNR and TEIEP will also perform applied research activities which will be mainly focused on the use of recycled water (from various sources) for irrigation of crops.