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In the context of climate change and pressure on water resource, the issue of water savings in agriculture is becoming increasingly acute. At the European scale, agriculture is responsible for about 25% of total abstraction (EEA, 2009), with wide variations among countries. The European regulation, through the Water Framework Directive, aims at a sustainable management of water, and in particular water savings.

The EAFRD (European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development) supports investments in water saving irrigation equipments (European Regulation No. 1305/2013 - Article 46, point 4). Each member state is free to use its own methodology to assess ex ante potential water savings that can be achieved by changing irrigation system.

A study commissioned by the French Ministry of Agriculture, entitled "Plot level assessment of potential water savings achievable through the modernization of irrigation systems" was carried out by IRSTEA (French National Research Institute of Science and Technology for Environment and Agriculture) in 2016-2017. Researchers have collected references of water savings realized at plot level. They could create a database of water savings potentially achievable thanks to the change of irrigation system or to use of scheduling tools. This framework will serve as methodology to assess ex ante potential water savings on the French metroplitan territory.


The conference focuses on scientific and technical questions linked with the water savings attainable through changes in irrigation system or management. It highlights scientific issues related to irrigation efficiency and productivity. From a technical point of view, it targets all irrigation systems (surface, sprinkler, localized irrigation), and scheduling tools as well. Water savings are considered both at transport (networks) and application (plot) level. They include the use of scheduling tools and methods.


  • Exchanging on levers to save water and improve irrigation efficiency.
  • Sharing feedback on quantitative irrigation water savings achieved in different European member states through changes in irrigation systems or through the use of scheduling tools: results of experimental trials, farmer practices’ monitoring… 
  • Sharing methodologies used in different countries to assess ex ante the potential water savings achievable with modernization of transport or irrigation material. Presenting the French methodology, developed at the request of the Ministry of Agriculture.
  • Encouraging exchanges between operational, institutional, technical and scientific stakeholders. 
  • Exhibiting some innovating technological solutions to save water in irrigation.


  • Operational: agricultural profession, agricultural advisers, water users associations
  • „Institutional: water agencies, managing authorities of regional rural development plans
  • „Scientific and technic: researchers, technicians
  • „Private companies: irrigation equipment, sensors, irrigation scheduling tools
  • Students
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