Methodology and approach

WaterFARMING is one of the first to develop a common set of tools to quantify water and nutrient use efficiency from field to catchment scales across a wide variety of production systems taking environmental, social and economic indicators of sustainability into account. The project thus contributes to the development of a coordinated and versatile strategy for agricultural water management in Europe and N. Africa. The project uses a unique combination of tools and methods (ecophysiology, socio-economy, crop models, farming system model, Kaya-Porter Identity, hydrological water quality models, Remote Sensing and ArcGIS tools) to take account of the spatial and contextual effects on soil and water use at different scales and under diverse agro-climatic conditions. This is done in a network of production systems embedded in diverse catchments across the partner countries and the partners have unique access to huge dataset collected from the production systems and the catchments and from the past and the on-going projects. Suitable environmental, economic and social indicators will be developed to be applicable across the whole network. Landscape scale assessments will be carried out to identify the gaps in current land use patterns. Best practice scenarios will be designed in consultation with stakeholder platforms. Protocols and management innovation will be brought together in an online decision support tool for stakeholders. Exchange of researchers, students and peer-peer dissemination by the farmers will be the core activities for innovation transfer. Partners represent European and N. African experts in land management and environmental modelling and the range of the expertise is demonstrated by peer-reviewed publications cited in the proposal. Innovative production practices and measures will be demonstrated on-farm in the network of production systems. The project outputs will be the result of co-innovation and co-generation of knowledge through the active consultation with farmers, farmer associations and territorial/regional stakeholders. The wide geographic coverage of project partners ensures access to an extensive pan-European and N. African network of co-operation.