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)
1. As appropriate, conduct research and technology transfer, and cooperate on the Irrigation Management Information System (IMIS) project, which is part of a cooperative research project bringing together participants from Israel, Jordan, Palestine, and the United States to Improve water management by providing data for scheduling irrigation and other crop management decisions to increase irrigation efficiency in the Middle East and The United States. 2. Establish an IMIS research and extension sites to represent important agricultural production systems in Palestine. Evapotranspiration (ET) models for several conventional and specialized crops will be evaluated for the designated sites and prioritized according to applicability criteria. Soil and plant water-status measurement instrumentation will be evaluated, adapted and integrated into the system according to the same applicability criteria. 3. Conduct collaborative regional research on measurement of crop water use and calculation of crop coefficients for key crops, such as cucumbers, peppers, and specialty crops. 4. Establish interaction with local universities, farmers, farm advisors, and extension personnel in order to implement the IMIS system to ensure wide acceptance and sustainability.
3. Progress Report
During this project reporting period, the project coordinator maintained the weather stations and collected data from all the stations on regular basis. The data collection is done automatically and processed to the centralized database. The IMIS project team from PARC attended the regional workshop which was held in Jordan in November 2010. The IMIS project coordinator from PARC reported on the weather stations installed by the project (5 in Israel, 3 in Jordan, and 3 in the PA). The 3 in Jordan are combined with 9 others there for a total of 20. There have been equipment failures that have reduced the quality of data and that have in some cases prevented data from being recorded. These include data logger failures, SIM card theft, destruction of wiring, and RH sensors and anemometers going out of calibration due to dust and dirt accumulations. In addition, two masters students from Al Quds University studied tomato and cucumber production in plastic houses and irrigation participated in the workshop. They used five irrigation levels that were fractions of reference ET from a project weather station. A relationship between external reference ET and ET within plastic houses was used to scale irrigation amounts to determine the optimum irrigation regime. There are >30,000 dunums (approximately 7,400 acres) of open field cultivation around Jericho and a much smaller, but growing, area is in plastic houses. The long term effects on soil of irrigation with medium salinity brackish water is not yet known. The participants reached consensus that significant strides had been made on establishing meteorological network stations that can be used to improve water management in Jordan, Palestine (PA) and Israel in areas dominated by Arab farmers. Regional workshop recommendations for the Palestinian partner (PARC) in the coming years are to focus on the following: 1) regional and international training and capacity building of researchers; 2) maintaining and upgrading the meteorological stations; 3) improving the website; to use brackish water for irrigation; 4) utilizing of treated wastewater for irrigation. Two local Workshops were held in the West Bank. In order to promote the IMIS project, The IMIS team participated in two local workshops at the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ). Those workshops resulted in publishing a survey and needs assessment for a national Meteorological Station and the Implementation of an Early Drought Monitoring System in the Palestinian Authority