UNESCO states that water for irrigation in agriculture will increase by 19 percent by 2050, provided that the scientific advances to improve water efficiency aren't sufficient in face of the increasing world population.
Between 60 and 70% of fresh water is currently used in agriculture, a figure that could increase up to 19% by 2050 according to UNESCO.
Next Friday Unesco will celebrate the World Water Day that, this year, will be part of the International Year of Water Cooperation so as to draw attention to some facts, like, for example, that 783 million people lack access to clean water.
In the case of agriculture, Unesco notes that with the absence of technological progress or intervention policies in this matter, the use of water for food production, that it defines as "one of the greatest pressures", will continue to grow.
The professor of the University of Cordoba and expert on the issue, Emilio Camacho, stated that, in this context, new technologies based on agro climatic information "have a bright future ahead" in terms of saving water.
After the modernization of irrigation, he says, the use of water for agriculture has fallen but there is still room for improvement, even though we must deal with associated problems such as the rise of energy costs.
Reducing energy costs
In his view, the modernization emerged at a time of economic boom when energy prices were significantly lower and therefore oversized infrastructure with high implementation costs were done.
Hence, another line of action is to reduce the cost of energy bills and this is precisely one of the goals of the Spanish Federation of Irrigation Communities (Fenacore).
Fenacore has implemented some measures as a collective purchasing group in which thirty of these associations are already involved.
Fenacore President, Andres del Campo, understands that the key lies within the control and computerization of irrigation so that every farmer knows exactly what they need.
The Spanish Association of Water Technologies Businesses (Asagua) explains that research on water is thorough and intensive and has led to patents that seek to achieve the same results with less consumption.
The Water-School Business School, a project that seeks to offer specialized training to professionals and users to deepen existing technologies as part of the "Smart Water Technologies" that the Spanish Association of Spanish Water Technology (AFRE) disseminates, was recently created.
In the case of irrigation, this strategy supports the introduction of drip irrigation and micro-irrigation, soil-plant-atmosphere sensors, hydroponics, subsurface drip irrigation, remote management, and automatic irrigation controllers, among other techniques.
AFRE President, Miguel Lopez, notes that these technologies are poorly implemented but, "curiously, the farms that use them are the ones that work the best, where there is more production."
In Spain there are companies working on the efficient use of water for agriculture from different perspectives.
This is the case CI2T, an entity associated to the Madrid Science Park working since 2006 in the development of intelligent and automated greenhouses, with a comprehensive management system.
The company tries to reach farmers through big cooperatives and has had a mixed reception which basically shows a generational change, says its director, Francisco Larios.
Another entity associated with the Science Park, Africa Supply, works in manufacturing a vessel that will produce potable water, a novel idea that will supply 30,000 tonnes of water (suitable for agriculture, industry and human consumption) per day.
In the framework of Asagua, the company Veolia Water has developed the Pearl process technology that transforms wastewater nutrients, such as phosphorus and nitrate into fertilizers for agricultural use, so that the water returned to the rivers is in perfect condition.
Clear examples of how man continues to seek solutions to improve the use of the limited resource that was, is and will be the key to life, water.
Published on: 3/19/2013