AFIR study: Romania’s irrigated surface could increase to 1.8 ml ha without affecting water resources

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Romania’s irrigated agricultural area could increase to over 1.8 million hectares from the current 610,000 hectares without adversely impacting water resources, reveals a survey by the Ministry of Waters and Forests commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Agency for Rural Investment Financing (AFIR) said in a release on Friday.

In connection with this, AFIR announced that it receives investment projects for systems modernization resulting in a net increase of the irrigated area, under Sub-measure 4.3 I – Investments for the development, modernization or adaptation of the agricultural and forest infrastructure – Irrigation Infrastructure Component.

“Irrigation infrastructure is key to sustainable agriculture in Romania, both for farmers and for the population. Even if the need to irrigate is high, the water used must be managed with great care, as the environmental impact of water consumption, even if this is to benefit agriculture, is a major one. Without the results of this study, provided for in the Applicant’s Guide, the Agency was so far unable to finance projects aimed at increasing the irrigated surface. The analysis was all the more necessary as our concern for the implementation of the rural development measures is related both to the good of agriculture and to the protection of the environment and Romania’s natural infrastructure, which are mandatory requirements for all projects financed through the National Rural Development Program,” says AFIR director general Adrian – Ionut Chesnoiu., according to Agerpres.

According to the cited source, an investment resulting in a net increase of the irrigated area that affects groundwater or surface water bodies is eligible only if they are considered satisfactory with regard to the amount of water in the river basin management plan. At the same time, the eligibility of the project is also given by the environmental analysis carried out by the competent authority, which has to confirm that there will be no significant negative effect on the environment.

The study also analyzed the irrigation sources, the Danube River, the inner rivers, the natural lakes and the reservoirs, AFIR notes.