Research at catchment/basin/regional scale


Socio-economic and environmental aspects of irrigated agriculture

The economics of water management has significantly changed in the last 20 years with the emerging consensus around the paradigm of Integrated Water Resources Management defined by GWP as ‘a process which promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources in order to maximise the resultant economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital eco-systems’ (GWP, 2000).  IWRM  calls for a multi-disciplinary approach able to take into account environmental, economic, social and institutional aspects. At the core of the water management framework is the treatment of water as an economic good as well as a social good, greater reliance on pricing, and fuller participation by stakeholders.

As such, IWRM will benefit from a sound use of economic and financial analysis and instruments. In addition, sustainability Evaluation of Water Policies in Mediterranean Agriculture is taken into account by considering also stakeholders analysis and participation and Gender issue.

In this context the research lines on the economic and social aspects of irrigated agriculture have been developed and they cover the following topics:

·                    Optimal allocation of irrigated water resources  (at farm and regional  level)

In water scarcity conditions, the optimal allocation of water resources among competing crops and different irrigation scheduling constitutes the crucial issue to achieve a more efficient use of water and to increase water productivity.  The purpose of this line of research is to develop allocation models for optimizing regional water resources aiming at overall maximum efficiency in terms of water management both at farm and at regional scale.

·                     Analysis and evaluation of  application of the economic instruments 

The application of the main economic instruments (water prices, water tariffs, water rights, and water policies and regulations) is evaluated in terms of major economic and environmental results.  Special attention is turned to the implementation of the Full Cost Recovery Principle and  the Polluter Pays Principle included in the Water Framework Directive 2000/60. The applied methodological approach combines a biophysical model and a mathematical programming model, at a farm level, leading to “bio-economic” modeling.

·                     Water efficiency and economic approach to water management

This line of research is  intended to:  evaluate and/or update water saving potentials in the different sectors (agricultural, domestic - including tourism -, and industrial);  present the national efficiency improvement objectives (sectoral and total);  present policies and measures adopted, projects implemented (or to be implemented) towards improving sectoral efficiency; present performance indicators used to assess the effectiveness of these actions; assess the cost of increasing water efficiency in the various sectors of use; evaluate potential financial savings to be made through the implementation of  water demand management measures, compared with supply-based management policies.

·                     Agricultural Policy and impact on Water Demand Management

The main objective of this line of research is to give a comprehensive overview about impacts of  the CAP reform on the total water demand of the European agricultural sector. With the support of an Integrated Territorial Simulation Model the most likely effects of CAP implementation have been identified  in terms of some attributes considered to be more relevant like:  main trends of reallocation of cultivated land area (e.g. cultivated versus non-cultivated land, irrigated versus non-irrigated land, etc), total water demand, water demand per hectare,  farmers’ income and  public revenue. 

·                    Stakeholder analysis and scenario building

The importance to develop and analyse a set of comprehensive scenarios of Europe’s freshwater future until 2025, covering the North Africa Mediterranean countries and taking into account climate variability and change, was stressed by several researchers. Many EU projects have been financed under this topic (for ex: SCENES). This research topic will provide a reference point for long-term strategic planning of European water resource development, alert policymakers and stakeholders about emerging problems, and allow river basin managers to test regional and local water plans against uncertainties and surprises which are inherently imbedded in a longer term strategic planning process. The scenarios developed by this research will be policy-relevant by identifying the requirements of stakeholders and decision makers, and including stakeholders in the scenario-building process. True cooperation is an essential element of research methodology and dissemination of results.

The possibility to generate combined “qualitative and quantitative” scenarios is investigated within the framework of this research topic.

Timing:
Starting: 8.01.2001
Scheduled ending: 25.06.2019
Real ending: 25.06.2019
Objectives:

The main objective of this research line is to contribute to  more sustainable water management through: i) the identification and analysis of a range of economic instruments (water pricing, taxes, etc.) able to provide adequate incentives for efficient use of water resources; ii)  economic assessment of water and agricultural policies and measures put in place in order to identify costs and benefits of each action.

Justification:

Integrated water resources and demand management has been selected as the first priority field of the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD) adopted in 2005 by all the rim countries and the European Community. In this common «framework» strategy, economic aspects are becoming more and more important for taking better decisions that improve water management.

Potential:

Integrated water resources and demand management have been selected as the first priority field of the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD) adopted in 2005 by all the rim countries and the European Community. In this common «framework» strategy, economic aspects are becoming more and more important for taking better decisions that improve water management. This line of research aims at filling the existing knowledge gap in the effectiveness and impacts of applications of economic instruments as tools for  water resources management. Further, as horizontal and cross-cutting themes, economic and social aspects offer the opportunity to integrate the different research lines of the L&W Division.

Results:
Notes:
  • Strengths

This research line allows filling the existing gaps in the impacts of economic instruments on  water resources management. In addition, economic and social aspects offer the opportunity to integrate the different research lines of the L&W Division.

  • Weaknesses

The weakness is mainly related to the complexity in coordinating many partners from the Mediterranean countries where data are scarce and difficult to access.

Reference person/s: Scardigno Alessandra /
Collaborators: D'Agostino Daniela / Khadra Roula / Lamaddalena Nicola / Todorovic Mladen /
Thesis: Assessment of irrigation scenarios for cotton and wheat in North-Eastern Syria
Water allocation strategies under scarcity and specific socio-economic and environmental conditions in the Central Jordan Valley
Optimization of the cropping pattern in Jordan Valley under different climatic conditions and water availability: environmental and socio-economic aspects
Use of regional water balance and economic assessment as a tool for water management in Lebanon
Institutions involved: IAMM- Istituto Agronomico Mediterraneo Montpellier
Università degli Studi di Bologna
 
 
Seguici su: