Water and Energy Nexus Study in Public Irrigation Systems: A New Character in Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Story

19:00 Tuesday 28 May




Madalena Moreira (Portugal) 1; Carina Arranja (Portugal) 2; Nelson Carriço (Portugal) 3; Dália Loureiro (Portugal) 4

1 - Universidade de évora; 2 - FENAREG; 3 - Instituto Politécnico de Setúbal; 4 - LNEC

For most of the Portugal mainland territory the climate is Mediterranean, making irrigation as an important way to supplement precipitation with the purpose of assuring optimal growth of crops.

We are already facing evidences of an increased risk of drought and water scarcity. Ensembles of CMIP5 (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5) and CMIP3 (SRES A2) project a significant increase in temperature and a reduction in annual precipitation, originating a reduction in water availability in the Portuguese territory, with a higher degree of severity in the South.

The Paris Agreement, which pursues efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C, recognizes that an effective response to climate change requires a global collective effort with particularly strong emphasis on water and energy efficiencies and decrease of demand, guided by the 2015 UNSDG. These measures in irrigation systems reduce the amount of water abstraction, which contributes to sustainable water management and reduces the risk of water scarcity (adaptation to climate change), and reduce energy consumption and GHG emissions (mitigation of climate change); GHG emissions can also be reduced by hydro energy recuperation.

Portugal’s National Irrigation Programme aims the rehabilitation, modernization and extension of irrigation systems around the country, mostly in the Alentejo region. Systems’ modernization contributes to a better-quality service for farmer and improvement of irrigation system management, with a view to sustainability.

Based on all the considerations above, we believe that AGIR project, which will be presented below, is an important contribution to achieve Paris Agreement Goals.

The AGIR (Water and energy efficiencies assessment in public irrigation systems) project brings together the complementary theoretical expertise of five R&D Institutions (LNEC, UEVORA, IPS, COTR, INIAV) and practical experience of public irrigation systems and farmers and is coordinated by FENAREG. Furthermore, AGIR is supported in terms of results analyzes and discussion by the DGADR.

The main outcomes of the AGIR Project is a methodology to calculate the water and energy efficiencies of irrigation systems, through the application of water and energy balances to the transport and distribution network. Using these tools, the system manager may find the options to improve efficiency and study the potential recovery of energy.

Another AGIR goal is the development of a performance indicators system, which can evaluate the success of mitigation and adaptation measures.

Although we have applied this methodology just to three case-studies in Alentejo, which results will be presented in this conference, it can be applied to any irrigation system.