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Innovation Case Study: Water saving in irrigation

Can water savings help reaching water targets without compromising food production and security in Europe?

The case study will be testing the validity of the process of assessment of innovations in irrigation technology (shifting to drip irrigation) and irrigation strategy (shifting to deficit irrigation), going through the two phases and selecting specific case studies approached along QST and involving the NIS.

Both irrigation technologies and irrigation strategies have been developed to save water in irrigation, to reduce resource use costs, and to reduce resource use. Increased efficiencies in resource use are known to often not reduce resource use but rather to allow a further increase of resource-using activities (Jevons paradox). The extent to which this effect did appear in the EU for either water saving technologies or strategies is studied in this task.

The analysis will involve two phases:

Phase 1

We will carry out an analysis of the attributes of performance that were selected and which neglected when endorsing water saving policies for irrigated agriculture. Scientific publications and reports will feed an overview of the state of the art of the innovation. Policy documents and policy evaluations are assessed to investigate the purpose of the innovation (advantages and avoided disadvantages), controversies involved, and the expected potential of the innovation to address the problem; whether the innovation is adopted in policy narratives; and whether the framing of the problem and the innovation as solution deal with the NEXUS-security.

Partners: UT and UAB.

Phase 2

We will involve quantitative story telling (QST) to discuss the role of the innovation in the latest decades, and its potential role in the future, using case studies and scenarios. The phase 2 of the innovation on water saving in irrigation will consist of two case studies, at two scales. In one case study, historic trends and future projects at a large scale is analysed for the Mediterranean EU countries. Scenario analyses of historic and possible future trends will represent uncertainties in current and historic irrigation practices, and focus on nexus security issues. A second case will focus on the Canary Islands at a finer scale, allowing more specific data to be used, and scale differences between the two cases to be analysed.

Further cases can be pursued in later stages of the MAGIC project.

Partners: UT, ITC and UAB.

For more information:


Download the "Definition Innovation Case Studies" Milestone report


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Where can you find more information about the case study?

You can know more about this case study in the Knowledge Hub section > "Innovation Cases"