2007 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
To develop and improve water management models and irrigation scheduling practices at both the field and watershed scale in the United States and the Middle East.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
In conjunction with the Department of State, conduct necessary theoretical and applied research, and build capacity through necessary education and training; thereby, establishing the technological and human infrastructure required to achieve long-term change in water conservation in the Middle East.
Formal collaborative agreements (SCAs) will be established with regional partners that include the National Center for Agricultural Research and Technology Transfer (Jordan), the Cooperative Monitoring Center,(Jordan) the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (Shufat-East Jerusalem, PNA, via Israel), the Agricultural Research Organization (ARO), and the Ahali-Center for Community Development, Israel.
This report serves to document activities conducted under a reimbursable agreement with the U.S. Department of State. Work is conducted in partnership between ARS, the Arab Agronomist Association (AAA), West Bank, the Agricultural Research Organization (ARO) –The Volcani Center, the Ahali-Center for Community Development, and Jordan’s Ministry of Agriculture. Under the direction of Dr. James Ayars of ARS Water Management Research Laboratory, Parlier, CA, and Dr. Steven Evett of ARS Soil and Water Management Research Unit, Bushland, TX, the Middle Eastern co-operators work to establish the technological and human infrastructure required to achieve long-term sustained water conservation in the Middle East and the U.S.
An article was published in the September 2006 issue of ARS Magazine about the IMIS project scientists visiting the U.S. The article entitled “Probing Peppers’ Water Needs: Middle East Meets American West.” The article highlighted the specifics of the research and the expected outcomes as well as the historical background of the U.S.-Middle East cooperation as it relates to the project.
Progress includes increased scientific cooperation amongst American, Israeli, Jordanian, and Palestinian scientists, creation of an agricultural meteorological station network connected to an internet site, improved knowledge of crop water use for several crops in the region, and positive plans for future collaboration on the pressing water issues of the region. Actual metrological data for Israel, Jordan and Palestine can be retrieved from the IMIS website: www.merimis.org. The rainfall was fairly good in Israel, Palestine and in certain parts of Jordan. The highest rain fall recorded in the area covered by the MERIMIS network from October 2006 to May 2007 was in Baqa Al-Gharbieh (central Israel) at 536.6 mm, and the lowest was in Wadi-Arabah, Jordan at 23.0 mm. Current metrological data for Israel, Jordan, and West Bank can be retrieved from the IMIS website. The website is consistently updated and modified to reflect project progress.
As part of the effort to enhance the technical capacity of the IMIS cooperating parties, Dr. Steven R. Evett traveled to Jordan at the invitation of the National Centre for Agricultural Research and Technology Transfer (NCARTT) to deliver a five-day workshop on irrigation management and scientific writing at NCARTT Headquarters in Amman, Jordan. The 28 participants were from NCARTT, the Ministry of Agriculture, University of Jordan, and Jordan University of Science and Technology; from Israel (four); and from Palestine (five). The course was hosted by NCARTT and sponsored by the Middle Eastern Irrigation Management Information Systems project (www.merimis.org). After the course, Dr. Evett worked with Dr. Mohammed Jitan and Engineer Naem Mazahrih, both of NCARTT, on details and planning for the ongoing construction of a weighing lysimeter for crop water use measurements at the Dair Alla Research Station in the Jordan Valley.