Almeria's agriculture consumes half as much water as the rest of Spain

Almeria is not only characterized by its semi-arid climate, but also by the efficiency in the use of a scarce and precious commodity such as water. In the latest edition of the World Water Day, some data was given about the exemplary use of this resource by Almeria's greenhouse agriculture.

One of the sources for this information is Coexphal. The water footprint is the total volume of water used to produce the goods and services consumed by an individual, group of people, a province, or a country, and the province of Almeria is at the lead when it comes to saving and the efficient use of water, since it consumes half the water than the average of Spanish agriculture, with a water footprint up to 20 times lower.

As explained in the report "Economic, social and environmental contributions of greenhouse cultivation", carried out by Juan Carlos Pérez Mesa and Lucía Aballay for the Hortiespaña interprofessional, the producers of Almería have understood that water is a very valuable resource, so the region now has "the most technified and efficient irrigated area in the entire national territory," as defined by Roberto García-Torrente, director of Agro-food Innovation at Cajamar.

Almería is the leader not only in savings, but also in fertigation techniques, and not only in an automated way (in 60% of the greenhouse surface), but also with localized, high frequency irrigation, controlled by computer systems and by sensors which help determine the exact amount of water that is needed by crops. Moreover, there is hydroponic development (soilless crops ), as well as rainwater harvesting systems (something actually required by municipal ordinances).

This technology and advances in irrigation have turned Almeria into one of the Spanish provinces with the lowest consumption in cubic meters per capita (1.69%), well below other large agricultural areas, such as Valencia (3.59%) or Murcia (3.79%). And work to become even more efficient is still underway through continuous research and the transfer of knowledge to the fruit and vegetable sector. In 2017, the Fertinowa project was launched (the "Transfer of Innovative Techniques for the practice of Fertigation"), which is funded by European funds, with the participation of European research centers and 6 notable Spanish partners, including Ifapa, UAL and Fundación Cajamar.


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