OPTAIN collaboration with WATERAGRI


OPTAIN’s twin project WATERAGRI (WATER retention and nutrient recycling in soils and streams for improved AGRIcultural production) is H2020 research & innovation project that aims to re-introduce and enhance solutions for water retention and nutrient recycling to enable agricultural production that can sustain growing populations and cope with present and envisioned climate change challenges. As such, the project strives to generate adeeper, more detailed, and integrated understanding of the hydrological processes and interactions shaping water resources in Europe. To achieve these ambitious objectives, WATERAGRI is further developing traditional drainage and irrigation solutions and reintroducing nature-based solutions such as constructed wetlands and bio-inspired drainage systems in the agricultural landscape, which leads to better retention of both water and nutrients. Also, WATERAGRI evaluates specific water and nutrient retention needs with the farming community, develops a set of affordable and easy-to-implement technologies, tests them at the field level and deploysa sound business framework for their uptake at the farm and agricultural catchment level.

The project activities include 10 well-developed case studies with focus on specific biogeographical regions of Europe: Boreal Zone (Finland), Continental Zone (Sweden, France, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Austria, Italy) and Pannonian Zone (Hungary). Here, the economically sustainable WATERAGRI technologies are tested and deployed for different land use/crop types – from grass production and pasture to organic and conventional (fruit) farming. The test field sizes vary from 1ha up to 1000 ha.

WATERAGRI Consortium consists of a group of 23 partners from 12 European countries who teamed up under the lead of the Lund University (Sweden). Among the partners, there are 4 and 3 world-leading water retention and nutrient capture experts respectively from prominent European water and soil research institutions and centers as well as international experts on stakeholder engagement and communication.

WATERAGRI project started in May 2020 and lasts 4 years

As OPTAIN and WATERAGRI working on similar issues collaboration has been developed on aspects where there is a benefit for both projects. The aim of this collaboration is to create synergies and avoid duplication of efforts. Combining expertise allows us to:

  •  support each other in the specification of models, validation of results and up/down-scaling of findings, - exchange of data for modelling, data processing scripts and solutions to overcome data scarcity,

  • enhance reaching stakeholders, especially for those regions where both projects have partners,

  •  save financial resources


Authors: Martin Volk, UFZ, martin.volk@ufz.de; Felix Witing, UFZ, felix.witing@ufz.de

Update : June 2022