Università di Catania
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INtegrated Computer modeling and monitoring for Irrigation Planning in ITaly
PRIN 2017
Call / Bando: 
Settore ERC: 
Life Sciences
Ruolo Unict: 
Durata del progetto in mesi: 
Data inizio: 
Mercoledì, 28 Agosto 2019
Data fine: 
Martedì, 28 Febbraio 2023
Costo totale: 
€ 11.164.540,00
Quota Unict: 
€ 147.262,00
Università di Milano
Responsabile/i per Unict: 
Simona Consoli
Dipartimenti e strutture coinvolte: 
Dipartimento di Agricoltura Alimentazione e Ambiente
Altri partner: 
  • Università "Federico II" di Napoli
  • Università di Palermo
  • Università di Bologna
  • Università della Basilicata


The objective of the INCIPIT project is to develop and test a methodological framework to support the control and planning of irrigation water uses at different spatial scales and under different conditions of hydraulic and meteorological data availability.

The project builds on the broad assets of research achievements of some of the most active Italian research groups and answers to a strong request by the European Commission of scientifically sound methods for the assessment of:

  • utilisation of water resources for irrigation and irrigation efficiency
  • releases to the groundwater through percolation of irrigation water
  • return flows to surface water bodies of irrigation tailwaters

The project represents a unique opportunity to fill the wide gap between research and application that has clearly emerged in the early stages of implementation of the Agricultural Ministry Decree of July 31, 2015, where a specific set of obligations of measurement and estimation of irrigation volumes is defined. The methodology is based on the application of a set of hydrological models, comprising IRRIFRAME, IRRISAT, IRRISIAS, IDRAGRA and SIRR_MOD, implementing two main estimation settings: Water requirements and Water use. In the Water requirements mode, net irrigation requirements per unit irrigated area are calculated as the difference between the crop-specic potential evapotranspiration and the effective precipitation.

On the other hand, the Water use mode strongly relies on the availability of field observations of meteorological and discharges time series and is based on complex mathematical models able not only to simulate the hydraulic and hydrological processes, but also the operational criteria that are adopted for the management of irrigation from the diversions to the field. In all areas, different models will be run in the Water requirement mode with diverse sources of input data and outputs will be compared and validated with continuous measurements of irrigation volumes and return flows collected in at least one pilot district within each area over two irrigation seasons. In three of the case study areas the Water use mode will also be implemented using either IDARGRA or SIRR-MOD models. These efforts will allow to identify a shared set of modelling tools and monitoring techniques for the assessment of irrigation water uses.