Project summary

What does the project address ?

OPTAIN (OPtimal strategies to retAIN and re-use water and nutrients in small agricultural catchments across different soil-climatic regions in Europe,

OPTAIN aims to increase the knowledge and understanding of multiple benefits that spatially targeted combinations of NSWRM have on the management of small agriculture catchments across continental, Pannonian and boreal biogeographical regions of Europe, and on the conditions under which they perform most effectively.

OPTAIN aims to increase acceptance and better implementation of natural, small, and underutilized retention measures by showing under which weather/climate conditions, on which scale (field/catchment), on which location in the catchment and in combination with which other measures NSWRM perform best, considering environmental but also socio-economic indicators.

Why is it so important?

NSWRMs can help to mitigate the conflicts between agricultural water uses (e.g. plant production, animals) and other human and environmental demands for water, including drinking water or maintaining environmental flow. This is crucial, since these conflicts will be probably exacerbated by an increasing number of extreme events such as droughts and heavy rainfall. A more careful management of head watersheds will significantly contribute to a more resilient agriculture and society. Despite a comprehensive set of techniques available to increase water retention on both catchment and farm levels, knowledge is still lacking on the conditions under which NSWRM perform best and how they are best combined with other measures. The OPTAIN approach will increase the acceptance and implementation of NSWRMs for an improved water and nutrient management, and a resilient agricultural production.

What are the targeted audiences?

Stakeholders in the agrifood and environmental sector

Measures/Solutions for better water and nutrient management can have major co-benefits at the local level and beyond. NWRMS can only be identified and co-developed by people directly influenced by these measures.

Your participation, local knowledge and vision of the area is part of the planned solution. With the combination of this information, we will have more insight about the efficiency of various Natural/Small Water Retention Measures in nutrient and water retention at different spatial scales.

Scientific and Academic Communities & Technical experts

The advantages and new opportunities of OPTAIN’s approach to evaluate and explore NSWRMs effectiveness will become openly available.

OPTAIN develops ground-breaking innovation in implementation of NSWRM, building on state-of-the art technologies and methods in agriculture and water sector.

Co-creation within and outside of OPTAIN project will strengthen the scientific and expert communities and enhance their innovation capacity for finding synergetic solutions.

Decision influencers

OPTAIN is building social capital for the implementation of sustainable, effective, and underutilized solutions to improve agricultural water management, contributing to sustainable growth and multilevel governance as well as to several water and agriculture related EU policies.

National policy makers

Increased implementation of the technologies developed and tested in OPTAIN will increase water and nutrient availability and use efficiency, safeguard agricultural ecosystems and incomes, and strengthen rural areas in the long term.

General public

Natural/Small Water Retention Measures (NSWRM) used in agricultural catchments can improve water and nutrient management and increase the sustainability of the agricultural production.