Water and soil resources, in Greece and worldwide, face a great number of natural and anthropogenic pressures, including severe droughts, overexploitation, pollution and contamination. Such pressures may lead towards the depletion and degradation of those valuable resources and inflict social, economic and environmental impacts of incalculable magnitude (e.g. water scarcity, water stress and desertification). Generally, the magnitude of such impacts is fueled by a variety of factors including population growth, urbanization and changes in land use.
Under such harsh conditions, water and soil resources management is called to fill in the gaps that derive from the significantly inefficient policies and practices of the past and present as well as to play a crucial role towards the improvement of social wellbeing and environmental conditions.
In such a context, the main purpose of WaterRA is to participate and contribute towards the integrated water and soil resources management in environmentally fragile and threatened areas, in Greece and abroad, that suffer from significant issues; mostly due to their:
- Limited natural resources
- Population density
- Economic activities
- Inefficient management schemes
The fulfillment of the aforementioned purpose relies on an arsenal of tools that consists of (but not limited to):
- The preparation of technical reports and studies towards the development and integrated management of natural resources
- The implementation and realization of innovative research projects – as part of a larger consortium or as sole contributor
- The participation in seminars, conferences and meetings as well as the organization of such events
- The undertaking of consulting actions
- The gathering and distribution of data and information aiming at the promotion of pertinent knowledge
Emphasis is put in the various agricultural issues and especially in irrigation. That is due to the enormous volume of water which is consumed in this particular sector of production.
Indicatively, on a global scale, up to 70 % of the abstracted freshwater goes into irrigation. In Europe, agriculture accounts for around 24 % of total water use. However, this may reach up to 80 % in parts of southern Europe (Greece, Italy, Portugal, Cyprus, Spain), where irrigation is applied quite intensively due to the existing climatic conditions. (figure).