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Project Sustainable Water Use in Protected Mediterranean Horticulture

- As irrigation is bound to rely increasingly on low quality water, the project seeks to adapt protected horticultural practice to this new condition. The idea is to exploit the advanced technologies involved in protected cultivation to improve salt tolerance of high valued crops and to diminish environmental risks associated with the use of marginal water.

- The project will compile information on crop salinity tolerance and analyse the data in the context valid in Mediterranean protected cultivation.

- The experimental research consists of crop response measurements to fertilisation and salinity supplemented by studies of specific effects obtained under protected cultivation.

Project number ICA3-CT-1999-00009
Geographical coverage Spain, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Palestine
Budget (in €) 950000
Programme INCO MED (FP5)
Web site
Objectives - The objective of this project is to develop a context sensitive strategy for managing irrigation and nutrient supply of protected crops with constraints on the quantity and quality of water supply. The economical (quality and quantity of crop yield) and the ecological (contamination risks of water table, nature conservation) factors affecting the strategic decisions will also be considered.
- Moreover the research of this project will advance our knowledge about plant response to salinity and water stress.

- These new findings will be combined with new management techniques into developing a Decision Support System for farmers.

- The general objective is to adapt protected horticulture to low water quality by exploiting the high degree of control over the water and nutrient input, over climate and over drainage release. This objective is prompted by urban priority for fresh water and the rising discharge of domestic effluents for which agriculture can provide safe means of disposal.
-The project seeks fertigation recipes, climate control operations, crop and crop mixture rotations that improve yield and quality under constrains of marginal water use.
- It considers procedures that minimise the release of pollutants by including the investigation of drainage recycling. Finally it engages specifically in formulating recommendations for growers.

The specific  objectives:

 •    To determine environmental impact for selected protected-horticulture crops, for different root media and salt content of available water.
•    To develop irrigation/fertigation recipes for main vegetables under protected conditions based on soil fertility, growth stage and yield-quality targets.
•    To compile/determine yield response to salinity of the major crops.
•    To determine a strategy for climate management with high salinity of irrigation (CO2 injection, shading, humidification), in order to mitigate salinity damage and exploit the potential for better quality with salty root environment.
•    To determine a strategy to minimise salt accumulation rate in a closed-loop irrigation system, in dependence of water and nutrients uptake and of root medium characteristics.

•    To determine cost-benefit of possible farm level investments (rain harvesting, drain water recycling, use of wastewater, reverse-osmosis, disposal of residuals), depending on available water resources and type of crops.
•    To determine a strategy for management of water sources of varying quality, under given constraint of input of fresh water and/or of release of residuals.
•    To determine feasibility of cascade combinations of crops of increasing salt-tolerance.
•    A Decision support system that aims to maximise return under given constraints in water, water quality and release of chemicals.
•    To develop a farmers guide and "rules of thumb" translated to all participating languages.
•    Dissemination and short courses for extension specialists.
Period [01/03/2000 - 30/09/2003]


  • Agricultural University of Athens


    Coordinator acts as project coordinator
    Country Greece
    Web site
    Contact Sigrimis Nick,
    Position: Scientific Leaders
    Phone/fax: +30 1 5294038, +30 1 5294039
  • Central Lab For Agricultural Climate - CLAC
    Country Egypt
    Web site
    Contact Mr. Ayman Abou Hadid,
    Phone/fax: + (202) 3490053, + (202) 3490053
    Country Israel
    Contact Mr. Marcel Fuchs,
    Phone/fax: +972 3 968-3593, +972 3 960-4017
  • Agricultural Research Institute
    Soil And Water Use Section
    Country Cyprus
    Contact Mr. Ioannis Papadopoulos ,
    Phone/fax: 357-2-305101, 357-2-316770
    Country Palestine
    Contact Mr Jawad Wadi,
    Phone/fax: 97259411727, 97272823180