The overall aim of SHui is to deliver a suite of technologies and tools to empower individuals and stakeholder organizations to make informed decisions to manage water scarcity in European and Chinese cropping systems, and consolidating an integrated research platform for the coming decade across EU and China.
In addition to an overall strategic objective, the project is broken down into six stand-alone specific objectives which are described in the diagram below.
Objective 1: Document and benchmark current and emerging strategies in selected agricultural systems
This objective aims to collect and standardize information on yield, water balance, and soil quality, (defined especially as increased soil organic carbon content and water holding capacity), based on available information at the sites indicated in the experimental platform. These experiments will document and benchmark current and emerging integrated water management strategies for optimizing crop yields, water use efficiency and key agro-ecosystem services (water quality and soil conservation). They will more accurately determine crop water footprints in cereal-based rotations and tree crops at different spatial scales, under different environmental and social conditions in EU and China.
Objective 2: Determine relationships between annual and spatial variability of crop yield of soil related properties across scales under different scenarios.
This ambitious objective uses improved versions of hydrologic and crop models to systematically address the impact of different strategies to enhance water use efficiency(see below) to minimize threats to crop production in rain-fed and irrigated agricultural systems. By considering variability of soil properties across scales, from field to region at the different climatic regions, this objective will comprise tasks allocated across three intertwined Work Packages(WPs 2, 3 and 5).
Strategies to Enhance Water Use Efficiency
Objective 3: Understand the impact of soil management on agricultural soil hydrology to provide mitigation and adaptation methods to major threats to crop production
In cooperation with stakeholders, this objective will evaluate the impact of current strategies to enhance water use efficiency, reduce water footprintand minimize threats to crop production under current and future scenarios (including climate and socio-economic changes). Crop and hydrological models will help design enhanced strategies at field and regional scale to improve water-use efficiency for the agricultural systems in SHui, tailored to the different regions considered in EU and China.
Objective 4: Develop a set of decision support tools (based on sensors and remote sensing, modeling, and ICT technologies) at field and regional scales.
This objective aims to integrate all the data and science developed within SHui into practical guidelines (best management practices) and tools. It will model the expected consequences of management choice through objective functions optimized for agronomic, economic and environmental objectives. WP4 will interpret data/model outputs to build decision support systems based on crop-specific objective functions, socio-economic realities and goals, environmental objectives, and accessible data acquisition and convert them into a practical application for end users available in different platforms (PC, cell phones).
Objective 5: Evaluate circular approaches to water use in agricultural system.
This objective will focus on the situations covered by SHui where reuse and use of waste water are critical for their environmental and economic sustainability.Based on the benchmarking and characterization, and new evaluation tools, it will evaluate current performance of these approaches and make recommendations to improve their efficiency at farm and regional level under future conditions.
Objective 6: Capacity building on management of soil water resources among researchers and stakeholders across EU and China.
This objective aims to maximize the long-term economic, environmental and scientific benefits of the project by:
- Empowering and influencing on-farm decision making and regional water policies stakeholders;
- Consolidating an interdisciplinary platform of research teams across EU and China on soil and water resources in agriculture providing a legacy extending beyond the project duration.