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Agricultural and Urban Green Infrastructure Irrigation Systems Auditing – A Case Study for the Region of Epirus

Myriounis, Ch., Tsirogiannis, I.L., Malamos, N., Barouchas, P., Babilis, D.I., Chalkidis, I.
Agriculture and Agricultural Science Procedia 2015 v.4 pp. 300-309
audits, case studies, farmers, farms, green infrastructure, irrigated farming, irrigation scheduling, issues and policy, landscapes, landscaping, laws and regulations, managers, parks, professionals, sprinkler irrigation, sprinklers, stakeholders, water conservation, water resources, Greece
FAO-AQUASTAT states that in Greece, about 70% of the available water resources are used for irrigation purposes. According to directive 2000/60/EC, action is needed to protect water in qualitative and quantitative terms. Among the several actions that are expected to contribute to the protection of water is the optimization of irrigation management. In this framework irrigation professionals are challenged to achieve maximum irrigation efficiency at scheme as well as at end-user (farm or landscape setup) level. Irrigation efficiency is a complex concept at upper levels as the losses of someone could be the gains for someone else. At end-user level, irrigation audits which register and analyze information regarding water and soil characteristics, the design, installation and maintenance of the system, the available flow, the operating pressure, the application uniformity and the irrigation schedule provide a useful tool for system evaluation and maintenance, upgrade decisions. In the framework of the present work, selected case studies, part of an irrigation auditing initiative, which is in progress and will include 100 audits at the Regions of Epirus and Western Greece, are presented. Extended literature review was made in order to design the auditing procedures. Special fact sheets have been prepared and pilot audits were used in order to evaluate them and make final adjustments. The audits have been applied on a variety of agricultural irrigation systems (big guns, sprinklers bubblers, drip lines, emitters etc) as well as on sprinkler irrigation systems for landscaping setups (parks and athletic facilities). After each audit, a report is handed to farmers and irrigation managers. The report contains information regarding the findings and proposals for improvements. The majority of the systems that were audited up to now presented serious problems regarding design, construction, maintenance and management. The feedback was positive and most of them agreed to keep records regarding water savings data. It has to be noted that no relevant national legislation or official standard exist in Greece. In this framework, an objective of the initiative is to develop a practical auditing guide and make it available to relevant stakeholders and policy makers.