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Agriculture sector is accountable for 30% of the total water consumption in Europe, but reaches up to 70% of total water consumption in several European southern countries. In recent years, most of the efforts have been focused on water efficiency, without taking care of energy aspects, resulting in some cases on a significant increase in energy consumption, both per irrigated surface and per volume unit of water. The WEAM4i project will mainly address 2 of the priorities of the EIP on Water: “Water-Energy nexus” and “Decision support systems (DSS) and monitoring”. The WEAM4i proposal is based on two innovative management concepts:
1. A water&energy smart grid for irrigation: allowing interactive energy use decisions, by introducing demand-side management and matching the consumption to the available energy offer, due to existing water storage capability (in reservoirs or in the soil) that enables an ”near-almost elastic” demand.
2. An innovative, cloud based, integration approach: an ICT platform based on a Service Oriented Architecture, for hosting the DSS applications, while, at field level, the existing local irrigation systems will remain.
Techniques for resource efficiency at local level will be demonstrated on the irrigation systems aforementioned: for saving water, for improving the m3/kwh ratio and for the minimisation of the operational cost of water supply infrastructures. Full-scale demonstration activities will be performed in 3 EU countries (PT, ES and DE), covering a wide range of landscapes and crop types, from southern to central EU. Companies and SMEs will benefit from the future commercialization of the outcomes while the users will reduce the operational costs of their irrigation systems. To Sum up: once important water savings have been achieved, the new challenge for the irrigation sector is to minimise the energy costs. The WEAM4i project aims to provide innovative solutions for this challenge.