Ashgabat, 31 July 2019: The joint project of UNDP / GEF and the State Committee for Water Management of Turkmenistan on energy efficiency in the water sector, as well as the EU project “Support to Further Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development in Turkmenistan (SARD III)” organized a study visit for specialists from the agricultural and water sectors of Turkmenistan to the University of Cordoba, Spain.
The aim of the trip is to familiarize the specialists with the agricultural practices in Spain and, in particular, the rational distribution and use of irrigation water in the hottest province of the country Andalusia which is similar in climatic conditions to Turkmenistan.
During the study tour, project specialists were able to familiarize themselves with modern methods used in Spain for determining crop water consumption for irrigation, the work of modern irrigation systems, the water distribution systems between farmers, regulation of water supply for irrigation of crops, and water user associations in the region.
Experts were familiarized with the work of experimental farms, where the entire process of energy supply for irrigation systems is based on the use of solar energy.
In addition, the organizers held a meeting with representatives of Spanish companies, manufacturers of irrigation equipment involved in construction of innovative irrigation systems and engaged in the implementation of projects for the construction of new irrigation systems. During the meeting, representatives of the companies presented the most up-to-date equipment for drip and sprinkling irrigation, irrigation water filtration, filtration systems needed for drip irrigation and sprinkling, instruments and sensors for irrigation control systems and water distribution to create automated irrigation systems, etc.
Acquaintance with the practice of irrigated agriculture in Spain will provide specialists of Turkmenistan with the opportunity to use advanced international experience for the further development of agriculture and water management of Turkmenistan.
Due to the modernization of irrigation systems and the use of modern water-saving irrigation methods, the proportion of water used in Spain for surface irrigation decreased from 59% in 1996 to 28% in 2018 thanks to an increased use of drip irrigation (49%) and sprinkling (23%). In Andalusia, the share of using water-saving irrigation methods reached 85%. The use of water resources for irrigation in the whole country for this period decreased from 24 billion m3 per year to 17 billion m3. At present, the country's irrigated lands, comprising 3.55 million hectares or about 18% of the total sown area and provide more than half of all crop production.
The creation of long-term water resources, the modernization of existing and construction of new irrigation systems, automation of water distribution systems and the introduction of water-saving methods of irrigation of crops, has created smart irrigation systems that control the operation of pumping stations in automatic mode. In recent years, special attention in Spain, along with saving of water resources, has been paid to the use of renewable energy sources for energy supply in irrigated agriculture.