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Adapt agricultural production to climate change and limited water supply (Adapt2Change)
Start date: Sep 1, 2010, End date: Aug 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Background Water shortages and water pollution constitute major environmental threats in the EU that pose a threat to agriculture in particular. Several northern EU Member States face water and soil pollution. Southern Member States are more susceptible to drought and soil degradation. Climate change is only expected to intensify these natural threats. The agricultural sector will be greatly affected by the imminent decrease in water quantity and quality, but is also one of the major contributors to the problem. Modern-day agriculture accounts for around 70% of global water use. In Greece and Cyprus, up to 85% of total water use is dedicated to agriculture. The extensive and intensive agricultural use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers is arguably the most important cause of water and soil pollution. Furthermore, current unsustainable agricultural practices are considered to be one of the major driving forces of climate change. Greenhouse gases (GHG) are emitted directly through conventional energy consumption and livestock breeding, and indirectly through land-use effects (such as deforestation). Objectives The overall objective of the project is to demonstrate adaptation of agricultural production to climate change and limited water supply. Specifically, it aims to minimise agricultural water use by introducing a water-recycling method in a closed, fully automated, hydroponic greenhouse system. The beneficiary will define the scientific and functional parameters of the new system’s components: a shallow geothermal power component; a water-recycling unit (concentrator); and a greenhouse. Four prototypes will be constructed in Greece and Cyprus and the system tested for its technical and financial viability. The innovative system will be monitored by remote control. The aim is to fully recycle the water and also reduce GHG emissions by using the renewable energy source. It also aims to: comply with the requirements of the reformed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP); and minimise water pollution and other environmental effects of agriculture. Practical guides will be produced to encourage use of the innovative system in a wide range of environmental conditions. The guides will cover: design and implementation of water recycling systems in greenhouses; the use of shallow geothermal energy in greenhouse agriculture; environmentally friendly agricultural practices and sustainable water use; greenhouse automation and remote control support (RCS); and compliance with the CAP. Expected results: Four replicable, prototype horticulture greenhouse systems in Greece and Cyprus; Fully recycling and re-using water in the greenhouse system; Reduced GHG emissions; and The publication of practical guides to designing and implementing the system.
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