New technologies for modernization and management of irrigation piping

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Alessandro Santini *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Alessandro Santini |


Improving the efficiency of irrigation piping-systems represents a fundamental prerequisite to achieve a sustainable irrigation under both the environmental the economic point of view. Such an issue is important not only in areas with limited water-budget, but even in those areas where the increasing reduction of the water availability has become a worrying perspective. In the last twenty years, the reduction in water-availability and the increasing costs of system-management have highly limited the cultivated areas which are irrigated by means of water-distribution nets. In the recent years, most of the Italian investments in the irrigation-field have been oriented toward upgrading the open-channels irrigation nets, which were built starting from 50’, by substituting these latter with pipes. The modernization of the piping-systems has been achieved via innovative design solutions, such as back and loading water tanks or towers, which have lead to an improvement into the flexibility of the net management. Nearby the employment of such technologies, nowadays it is also possible to use the knowledge of the physical processes involved in the management of an irrigation system, starting from energy as well as mass exchange in the continuum soil-plant-atmosphere till to a detailed hydraulic description of a water distribution net under different flow regimes. Such a type of knowledge may be used to improve as well as buildup mathematical models for a decisions-support toward the management of complex irrigation districts. The acquirement of the data needed to implement such models has been deeply improved thanks to Geographical Information Systems (GIS), and techniques to analyze satellite-data coming from the Earth observation, which enable to characterize and monitor vegetation at different spatial, spectral and radiometric resolutions.

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