1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
The objective of this cooperative research project is to develop technology and methodology for efficient water use in agricultural systems suited for 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 ISRAEL. 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:
The ARS ADODR met with the ARO Principal Investigator during visits to Israel and communicated via email over the year to evaluate progress. Effective implementation of a sustainable reuse irrigation scheme allows for continued agricultural production while easing demand on water. The scarcity of conventional water sources due to water demand increase linked to population growth and agricultural usage (50-80% of total water consumption); there is urgent need to develop alternative water sources for agriculture, replacing the high quality water required for human consumption. Use of reclaimed treated wastewater (RWW), i.e., sewage water originating mainly from domestic sources that has been treated such that it is suitable for irrigation, has risen considerably in recent years, especially in areas suffering from freshwater shortages (e.g., arid and semi-arid regions). In Israel, approximately 45% of the water used for irrigation of agricultural crops is RWW and this fraction is expected to increase to as high as 60% in the coming years. During this reporting period, the cooperating scientists did not find any significant effect on fruit and oil yield, ripening level, or on oil quality parameters based on differences in water source used (RWW vs. fresh water) or fertilization regime (FWW with vs. without fertilization). The results demonstrate that RWW can be used for olive irrigation without negative effects on productivity and oil quality. Furthermore, it appears that nutrients delivered with the RWW can supply the trees needs, at least in the short term. Additional data on mineral content in leafs and soil characteristics will be presented in the next report. The treatments that were tested were: 1. Effluent with reduced fertilization (ERF) 2. Effluent without additional fertilization (EF0) and 3. Fresh water with standard fertilization (FRF).