Irrigating is not as easy as it seems
The researchers have developed a support system that, by using wireless sensors connected among them, receives data related to weather, soil humidity and salinity, depth, water temperature and salinity.
By using the AquaCrop model, appropriately adapted, this support system gives advice about irrigation, particularly useful in the agricultural areas at risk of salinization, based on the environmental parametres obtained.
With indiscriminate irrigation, made in Mediterranean environments during hot and arid summers, salts tend to accumulate in the upper layers of the soil, thus compromising the growth of most plants with the risk of desertification.
“Today, we estimate that in Europe about a fourth of the areas irrigated in the Mediterranean region are affected by this phenomenon”, said Maria Speranza, from the University of Bologna, project coordinator. “Looking at the ongoing climate change, it is very unlikely that the affected areas will increase more, especially in Southern Europe”.
Within the European research project Life Agrowetlands II, the researchers have tested the Smart Agrowetlands system with excellent results in an agricultural area near Ravenna, which is currently affected by a high salinization, located between the mouths of the Reno and Lamone rivers.
The results achieved so far are very positive and the project will continue with the aim of developing a more advanced version of the system which can be adapted to other territories.