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Euway, a project to protect water resources

Agia/Cia presented in Bologna a training course to transfer good irrigation practices to farmers. The issue of wastewater use

by the editorial staff
January - February 2023 | Back

According to the UN Report, the world could face a 40 per cent water shortage by 2030, due to global warming and increased consumption. The same report points out that some 4 billion people already live in severe water scarcity for at least one month a year, due to water stress, and ongoing climate change is likely to cause variations in seasonal availability throughout the year and in different locations.

Global water use has increased 6-fold in the last 100 years and continues to grow steadily at a rate of about 1% per year, due to population growth and changing patterns of resource production and consumption. This increase is unlikely to be offset by an increase in the amount of water used for irrigation, which currently accounts for 69% of all freshwater withdrawals.

It is clear that we have now moved from an occasional crisis to a chronic problem. Globally today, drought already affects 1.5 billion people, with UN estimates predicting that by 2030, 47% of the population will be living under water scarcity conditions. By 2050, if the current scenario remains unchanged, 240 million people will have no access to drinking water and 1.4 billion to basic sanitation. Agriculture plays a leading role in this context for several reasons. Drought-induced yield losses are occurring and questions are increasingly being asked about the sustainability of certain crops and agricultural activities. An interesting statistic for our country shows that in Italy the agricultural sector absorbs 60% of the country's entire water demand, followed by the industrial and energy sector with 25% and civil uses with 15%. EIMA International addressed all these issues in two conferences. The first, promoted by FederUnacoma/Assoidrotech, focused on 'Water Resources, a Global Emergency', with Attilio Toscano of the University of Bologna and Jacopo Fratus De Balestrini, representing Assoidrotech, as speakers. The theme of the second was 'Water, a resource to be protected between sustainability and opportunity'. Organised by Agia/Cia, the conference was attended by Enrico Calentini, national president of Agia/Cia, Angiolo Martinelli, director of Sustainable Use of Water Resources at the Ministry of Ecological Transition, Roberto Bernabini, deputy director general of the Romagna Land Reclamation Consortium, Stefano Francia, president of the Agricoltura è vita/Cia association, and, via link from Cop27 in Egypt, Federica Matteoli of FAO. The Euway project (Efficient Use of Water among Agricultural Youth), financed by the European Union and involving five countries (Italy, Belgium, Germany, Ireland and Spain) was presented during this event. The project's goal is to achieve good practices in the use of water resources by 2024, with a dedicated technical platform and a focus on training young farmers. One background topic is whether it is appropriate to use purified wastewater for irrigation purposes. By June 2023 – noted Martinelli - the implementing decree of EU Regulation 741/2020 will come out, which will again regulate the entire matter. This is a thorny topic, since the use of this water can only be properly achieved with substantial investments capable of bringing the water to the quality required for agricultural uses, as already happens in countries such as Israel and Cyprus.

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