Water saving in Mediterranean agriculture and future research needs

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Langue : Anglais
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Ouvrage 352 p. · 21x29.5 cm · Broché
ISBN : 9782756204284 EAN : 9782756204284

In the Southern Mediterranean, as well as in many other arid and semi-arid contexts, agriculture is one of the major economic driving forces contributing to more than 50% of the gross income of the region. Agriculture represents the main activity for a large part of the rural population and constitutes the tissue of social relationships. Nevertheless, due to unfavourable climatic conditions, agriculture is widely relied on irrigation and water withdrawal for agricultural use accounts for more than 80% of total freshwater abstraction. Most of the renewable water resources in water scarce regions, and particularly in the Mediterranean, are already fully exploited (or even over exploited in certain areas) and funds to build important infrastructures are shrinking. Past experience and initiatives have often proved the non-sustainability of agricultural water management based only on infrastructure-supply strategy. Hence, water demand management has been affirmed as the most appropriate long-term vision strategy to cope with the dynamics of supply- demand imbalance. Certainly, agriculture is the main sector in which water saving opportunities can be pursued and achieved since the agricultural water losses are estimated at more than 50% of sectorial water withdrawal. The contribution of agriculture to a more sustainable development is increasingly pursued at European level (through the integration of sustainability principles of Lisbon Process in both the EU Water Framework Directive and the Common Agricultural Policy) as a strategy that could be wisely developed across the Euro-Mediterranean region. In view of that, the European Commission has been very active in the promotion of relevant research initiatives in the water sector in third countries through the International Cooperation dimension of the RTD Framework Programme as well the launch of the EU Water Initiative specifically addressed to meet the Millennium Development Goals.