The objective of the SOS AGUA project is to research sustainable and energy-efficient technological solutions to develop strategies for the efficient management and treatment of water resources for the agricultural sector. This will guarantee the quality and quantity of water resources, as well as adapting and preparing the Spanish agricultural sector to combat the progressive shortage of conventional water resources and the effects of climate change.
Who are the members of the SOS AGUA XXI consortium?
The SOS-AGUA-XXI project consortium is made up of Sacyr WaterThe project leader (water treatment specialist, international benchmark in the use and management of desalinated and purified water for agriculture), Valoriza Environment (also part of the Sacyr group, dedicated to the management of green spaces and plant species, waste and sludge management and treatment, among other activities), Bosonit (specialising in new technologies, use of Big DataIoT, IoT, AI, etc.), Tepro (dedicated to agricultural consultancy, integrated farm management and agricultural production), Regenerate (specialising in energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions), Aeromedia (specialising in the development and use of drones for environmental management), föra forest technologies (specialising in remote data analysis applied to the agroforestry sector) and Aqua Advise (specialising in water treatment consultancy and the development and promotion of new technologies and processes).
The consortium includes leading national research groups that will contribute to the project the development of economically, socially and environmentally sustainable solutions: the University Institute of Water and Environmental Sciences of the University of Alicante (IUACA) (focused on analysing the problem of emerging pollutants in reclaimed water and their treatment), the University of Salamanca (USAL) (participant in the design of hydrological/hydraulic models for predicting flows and extreme weather events and the effects of climate change), the Polytechnic University of Cartagena (UPCT) (focused on the study of the agronomic aspects of the project, such as the effect of boron on crops and its reduction in irrigation waters), the Dept. of Chemical Engineering of the University of Alicante (UA) (collaborator in the study of microalgae removal of nutrients in brine from desalination plants and agricultural drains for use as fertilisers), a joint economics group of the Universities of Alicante and Alcalá de Henares (UA-UAH) (responsible for analysing the aspects of sustainability, economic, social and environmental viability of all the project's actions) and the Andalusian Association of Industrial Research and Cooperation (AICIA), a technology centre linked to the Higher Technical School of Engineering of the University of Seville, (participant in the development of technological tools to guarantee the sustainability of irrigation with reclaimed water in herbaceous and woody species).
Water needs in agriculture
Estimates by international organisations such as the UN indicate that food production will double in the next 20-30 years. Consequently, modern, water- and energy-efficient agriculture is essential to cope with growing food needs. The solution is not simple, as the conventional water resources available for each person or activity are becoming increasingly scarce, mainly due to the progressive increase in population and the needs associated with the development of countries. Moreover, this situation is already being aggravated by the effects of global climate change and the deterioration of water quality due to the presence of new pollutants such as pollutants of emerging concern, microplastics, superbugs, etc. It is therefore necessary to adopt measures to ensure the availability of water in sufficient quantity and quality for the development of the modern and efficient agriculture needed in the immediate future.
The research project "SUSTAINABILITY, WATER AND AGRICULTURE IN THE 21ST CENTURY", SOS-AGUA-XXI, has been approved and will be subsidised by the CDTI and supported by the Ministry of Science and Innovation through the 2021 call of the Science and Innovation Missions programme. The project proposes the development of a series of actions capable of boosting the Spanish agricultural sector through the Mission "Agriculture of the 21st century". The project has a budget of 6 million euros and will be financed by CDTI with European Next Generation funds.