Water is becoming a major problem in the field of natural and environmental resources management. Agriculture is one of the main sectors that uses water. In Italy it is by far the largest water user: compared to other sectors, it can be estimated that nearly 50% of available water resources are used for irrigation.
Moreover, the efficient use and allocation of water for agriculture is now a priority of water policies. In this context, the Italian case study within the ISIIMM1 project foresees a new integrated approach to water management: a dual water system that provides non potable water for landscape purposes and pressurised water for irrigation in an area North-West of Treviso. Financed by the European Commission under the MEDA Water Programme initiative, the main concern of the ISIIMM project is irrigation management in Mediterranean catchment areas (in France, Italy, Spain,
Morocco, Egypt and Lebanon) and its aim is to share experiences, knowledge and promote adapted solutions to improve irrigation management and develop innovative integrated water resource management strategies involving water users, citizens, development agents, researchers and
ISIIMM is co-ordinated by AGROPOLIS in Montpellier, France, while the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM), a non-profit research institution established to carry out research in the field of sustainable development, acts as the National Co-ordinator and scientific partner in charge of the implementation of the Italian case study, in cooperation the River basin Authority Alto Adriatico.
A comprehensive analysis was at first carried out at national and regional levels (Veneto and Trevigiano) based on six key axes (social, institutional, historical, agricultural, territorial and hydrological) in order to provide a good description of the context within which the problem of water use for irrigation and, in particular, the Italian case study stand.
The second phase of the ISIIMM project focused on the sharing of experience between national teams and stakeholders of project partner’s countries and mutual learning. FEEM’s most important activity in this phase was the exchange seminars with the Lebanese partner. The seminars were rich of events with the purpose of facilitating information and knowledge exchange on irrigation management. The Lebanese guests’ interest was mainly oriented to the creation and organisation of farmers’ associations in order to manage water resources. These events allowed to develop fruitful links among Italian and Lebanese Institutions and farmers.
One of the crucial aspects that emerged in the development of the Italian case study was related to the involvement of the relevant local stakeholders, concerned with the use and management of water resources in the area. To this purpose and to bring them together to stimulate dialogue on the road towards best water management and allocation of water for irrigation, the NetSyMoD2 approach was applied: after a first phase of interviews, meetings and an analysis of social networks, key actors were invited to participate to a Creative System Modelling Workshop (held in Treviso 14 December 2005). The purpose of the seminar was to put them together to exchange views and experiences, to discuss future scenarios and specifically to evaluate the rationality of the new irrigation system and the dual option.
The third and last phase of ISIIMM was dedicated to all kinds of knowledge and information dissemination activities and, as a result, the present synthesis report was elaborated.
This report is divided into three main parts: the first provides the European political context for agriculture and water; the second, a national outline of the agriculture sector and the state and management of water resources mainly for irrigation purposes; the third part focuses on related issues at local level (Veneto Region and Treviso province) with specific reference to the institutional
side of the Land Reclamation and Irrigation Associations, and provides an example of integrated management of the water resources through experiences of participated modelling and decision-support systems applied to the Italian case study.
This report collects and summarizes contributions from the many experts involved during the four years of the ISIIMM project: C. Giupponi, A. Fassio, R. Camera, A. Sgobbi, V. Moiso, D.Castiglione, G. M. Bazzani, A. Rusconi, M. Tamaro, G. Minoia, A. Facchi, M. Bernardini, C.Gandolfi, B. Ortuani and G. Santini.
Our sincere thanks go to the Vice Director Marco Tamaro and to the entire Assembly of the Destra Piave Land Reclamation Association for their availability and cooperation.