IRRIGATION MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEM (IMIS) PROGRAM FOR EFFICIENT WATER USE IN ISRAEL AND THE MIDDLE EAST
2011 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The objective of this cooperative research project is to develop technology and methodology for efficient use of water in agricultural systems suited to dry land climates, by applying Irrigation Management Information System (IMIS) techniques.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Under this agreement, and in accordance with the budget agreed to by both Parties to this Agreement, the cooperator shall: 1. Establish IMIS research and demonstration sites that represent a significant local agricultural sector and practices in Jordan. The system will be based on local meteorological data and field measured information inputs. 2. Develop the physical infrastructure and information management tools for rapid dissemination of quality controlled and reliable irrigation scheduling data for the proposed project sites. 3. Cooperating scientists will gather data throughout the cropping season utilizing data from constructed weighing-lysimeter and weather station, and collaboratively apply quality control and processing to develop Crop coefficients (kc) values. 4. Establish scheduling criteria for the unique variety of field, orchard, and vegetable crops grown in the project area, using Evapotranspiration (ET) estimation models and incorporating agronomic considerations. 5.Establish interaction with farmers, farm advisors, and extension personnel via implementation of the system to ensure wide acceptance and sustainability. 6. Promote regional cooperative activities by developing and disseminating the pilot project as a model pending future funding availability in preparation for a project expansion that includes infrastructure.
During this reporting period the project focused on collecting and processing meteorological data from the IMIS network and disseminated date to farmers in the Western Galilee, Yezrael Valley and the Triangle agricultural areas in Israel. The IMIS project team from El-Hawakeer attended the IMIS Regional Workshop which was held in Jordan in November 2010. The project coordinator from El-Hawakeer reported efforts to form and work with Irrigation Groups and Farmers following the successful model of the almond orchard farmers’ irrigation group at the Iksal IMIS project site. Checking and maintenance of the five weather stations in Israel was conducted; and additional weather station need to be added in the south of Israel in the Negev desert where almond and olive orchards are being developed using Treated Waste Water for irrigation. Other El Hawakeer activities are determining water requirements of strawberries and guava. El Hawakeer will start working with new technologies such as the ETGAGE to determine reference crop water use, infrared thermometers to gage tree water status, and remote reading water meters that would enable central monitoring of irrigations done by farmer group participants. It was noted that might be a problem of differences between larger, more engaged farmers and small farmers. Overall discussion provided a consensus decision that weather station maintenance was the first priority for funding; but questions were asked about whether or not the data is being used. So far the use has been very effective within the irrigation research community but extension to farmers is spotty. El-Hawakeer also conducted two workshops. Training meetings were held for Elhawakeer personnel and the volunteer staff on data and information dissemination to farmers in order to continuously provide farmers with the information and research results emanating from the IMIS . The majority of these are small farmers who depend mainly on agriculture. For this reason, an adequate methodology is required to transfer new technologies and knowledge.