Water managers sharing experience is key to success.

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Water managers sharing experience is key to success.

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Role of ANBI Campania and its contribution to the COALA project, and the need for experienced water managers

ANBI Campania (Italy) is one of the two European Water User Association partners in the COALA Project. ANBI transfers its experience as a European final user of satellite-based decision support systems.  This blog collects the thoughts of the General Manager of Consortium Sannio Alifano, an ANBI associate and partner of the COALA Project.

What is ANBI Campania?

ANBI Campania is a member of the National Association of Management and Protection of the Territory and Irrigated Waters. ANBI monitors water resources and allocation.

Sustainable irrigation management is one of the critical objectives of the ANBI Campania. What exactly do Associated Consortia activities consist of?

ANBI covers over 60% of the Campania region (about 900,000 hectares of the total of 1,367,100). The irrigated area served by these collective public cooperatives equates to more than 50% of the irrigated area of the Region (~104.570 hectares). One of our objectives is the modernisation of irrigation infrastructure – e.g. conversion from surface irrigation to modern pressurized networks pipes. The Consortia have adopted innovative irrigation management methods to help save water. Since 2007 they participate in the ‘Regional Irrigation Advisory Plan‘. This plan uses satellite data to estimate water volumes to deliver at district and farm level, to ensure sustainable productivity of the area. The service is called IRRISAT® — which shares the same name of an Australian service, though it does not provide the same services.  At the Milan Expo of 2015, the IRRISAT® of ANBI Campania was awarded among the ‘best practices’ on food safety.

Is your experience related only to national projects? Or have you involved in European activities?

As general manager of the Consortium Sannio Alifano (ANBI associated), I acted first as a stakeholder and then as a partner on several European projects. For example, the aforementioned Consortium participated as a partner in the DIANA Project, whose aim was to develop an Earth Observation based system to identify (illegally) irrigated areas at district scale, and the estimation of abstracted water volumes in order to offer a value added suite of data products and services.

Could you briefly explain the system that you refer to?

In the Sannio Alifano Consortium, irrigation management is based on annual declarations of farmers. Every year, farmers must declare the area that they want to irrigate (according to their water rights) along with the total amount of water required. The essential needs of the Consortium, which the DIANA project addressed, are:

1 – Estimation of the actual irrigation water requirement to improve networks operation;

2 – Cross-check of the farmers’ declarations against actual irrigated area and water volume withdrawn.

During the DIANA project, partners produced and validated maps of: irrigated areas, crop type classification, crop evapotranspiration, and Net and Gross Irrigation Water Requirements.

During the 3 years of the project, irrigated and non-irrigated area maps were compared with farmers’ declarations using Earth Observation data. The result was a compliance map where land parcels appear in a different colour based on their compliance with declarations. We used a “traffic lights” colour scheme: the parcels not in compliance (irrigation without water rights) were identified in red, parcels partially compliant were identified in yellow, and finally, compliant parcels were green.

Map that shows the compliance between farmers’ declarations and information derived from Earth Observation

What was the benefit of Consortium water managers?

There was an increase of compliant declarations and declarations that were not compliant were recognised more quickly. Moreover, the products and services that were derived with data from the Copernicus satellites helped Consortium to better interact and communicate with farmers. This restores the equity in water use and convinces farmers to use water responsibly, avoiding water waste.

Increase of compliant farmers’ declarations during DIANA project

How does the COALA project benefit from your experience as water managers?

Learnings from our experience in the DIANA project, and the benefits and lessons that ANBI Campania collected from it, will benefit aspects of the COALA project that relate to provision of services and products for COALA business partners — Irrigation Infrastructure Operators managers. I hope our experience can help Australian users to identify and co-define services based on Copernicus data that suit the Australian environment and needs. ANBI is not a service provider but an advanced user of EO technologies. So ANBI’s experience brings a degree of objectivity for defining the real benefit of these new technologies.

I would like to act as a European Copernicus user ambassador in Australia.  Australia is one of the most advanced contexts in the field of irrigation technologies, so I am very excited to participate in this project. I believe that I can learn from my Australian colleagues and, why not, bringing new ideas at my desk.


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