Project: Improving MEDiterranean irrigation and Water supply for smallholder farmers by providing Efficient, low-cost and nature-based Technologies and practices

Acronym MED-WET
Project Topic Water-scarce countries in the Mediterranean region are vulnerable to climate change and trends that will put agriculture at a disadvantage unless more efficient and sustainable irrigation technologies and lean solutions become more widely applicable for smallholder farmers at low-cost, optimising natural resource use and income even at small scales. Due to overexploitation of freshwater resources, many regions are struggling with saltwater intrusion to groundwater aquifers, which in some cases represents the only available source of irrigation water. Further, wastewater represents a largely untapped resource which could help to significantly alleviate the pressure on primary water resources. The MED-WET project is geared towards the overall objective to introduce and improve the irrigation efficiency of small farmers in the Mediterranean region and to make optimal use of scarce water resources for lasting food and water security. The project specific objectives are to: O1: Develop new irrigation technologies and solutions O2: Spread knowledge and skills to adapt, install and operate project solutions for irrigation efficiency and irrigation water production O3: Involve multiple stakeholders to tackle policy-associated barriers to take-up O4: Increase irrigation water availability by harvesting salinized and secondary sources O5: Enhance farm profitability and environmental footprints To achieve these objectives, all selected technologies in the MED-WET toolkit are low-tech, low-energy and easy-to-operate solutions that use cheap, locally available and natural materials and bioengineering techniques. They include: (1) The novel clay-based micro-irrigation system “SLECI”, with initial test results so far promising to increase irrigation efficiency by 70-90 % compared to drip irrigation and other sub-surface technologies. SLECI enables low-energy and self-regulating precision irrigation, thus enhances water security while also matching optimal crop water requirements and thereby enhancing yields. (2) Solar desalination greenhouses with a retrofit kit to upgrade existing, widespread greenhouses to nature-inspired desalination with high replication potential, as well as piloting a crop rotation system using halophytes to mitigate soil salinization. (3) Productive constructed wetlands for valorisation of domestic or farming wastewater promoting the transition to a circular economy for water and nutrients. Through its experimental sites covering a diversity of production conditions in Portugal, Malta, Greece, Egypt and Morocco, MED-WET will provide sound evidence for the ability of its solutions to cut irrigation water demand, especially primary freshwater by enabling reuse, and prove benefits for water and food security wherever MED-WET technologies are applied. The direct impact reaches even beyond the Mediterranean via agri-food value chains reaching all over Europe and North Africa. The project aims to achieve true capacity-building in the sense of really enabling the primary target group to adopt cutting-edge technologies and proven, easy-to-adopt practices. As such, MED-WET applies a triple-approach of education, co-development of financially viable and attractive business cases and access to financing. Co-creation activities and ongoing engagement of stakeholders in the development of the pilots will explore community-based opportunities for collaborative water management as well as shared investment particularly to produce irrigation water from non-conventional sources. The project builds on widespread outreach of consortium partners to total around 9,500 farmers in the 5 countries through their existing channels. Besides two public entities in the consortium, relevant local and regional decision-makers from pilot areas will be involved to tackle institutional barriers to adoption of proposed technologies, and generate the intended prominent impact for water and food security across the Mediterranean.
Network PRIMA
Call Section 2 Call 2020 - Multi-topic

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 Hochschule Wismar Coordinator Germany
2 Heliopolis University For Sustainable Development Partner Egypt
3 alchemia-nova Greece IKE Partner Greece
4 Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology Partner Malta
5 Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights Partner Malta
6 Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique Partner Morocco
7 Université Sultan Moulay Sliman Partner Morocco
8 Joao Carlos Correia Leitao Partner Portugal
9 Município do Fundão Partner Portugal