There is a need to achieve a better understanding of the interactions between land use and climate and their effect on water resources in order to improve long-term sustainable water use. This is especially relevant in areas such as the EU Mediterranean (EUM) region, which is a major climate change hotspot due to water scarcity, concentration of activities, and reliance on climate-sensitive resources. Irrigated agriculture is the largest (blue) water user in the EUM, accounting for more than 50% of total water withdrawal, largely doubling the EU average. Among non-extractive water uses, forests and rainfed agriculture have the largest (green) water footprint and play a fundamental role on the allocation of effective rainfall between green- and blue-water flows, determining the water availability for other uses.
On this context, INNOMED promotes a holistic approach to water resources management by: i) considering the full water cycle as manageable and the catchment scale as the most relevant management level; and ii) addressing the integrated management of land and water, with a special focus on irrigated agriculture and forests. Its main objective is to develop and apply a multidisciplinary approach to quantify the physical and economic effects of alternative management options in forestry and agriculture on the catchment's water balance, in order to ensure efficient water use systems and practices in both sectors and to promote sustainable water management solutions at the catchment level.
INNOMED will provide scientific research outcomes of high standards taking into account the current biophysical and socio-economic challenges in the EUM region, and provide resilient solutions aiming at reducing the pressure for water in the agriculture and forestry sectors, while strengthening international cooperation in water research.