Piemonte, Italy

Regional Demonstrators

Piemonte is the second largest region of Italy. It draws the westernmost part of the Italian Alps map along the border with France, Switzerland, and Austria, through an idyllic succession of lakes, valleys, and steep peaks. Rivers in Piemonte depend mostly on rainfall and glaciers and contribute to the Po River, the main river in the country, strongly influencing its water regime and that of its plain and its delta’s wet areas. 

Climate change is already tangible in the Alps and the Po plain. Precipitation has become very irregular both in annual amount and seasonal distribution, while drought periods are becoming increasingly frequent. In the last 30 years, fresh snow has shown a negative anomaly at altitudes below 1600-1700m, and glaciers have drastically decreased their surface. This severely undermined the availability of surface and groundwater in the plain for agricultural, industrial, and civil uses. In addition, in the last 60 years in Piemonte, the maximum daily temperatures have increased by 2°C and minimum temperatures by 1.5°C. Hence, the agricultural water requirement augmented to overcome the increased evapotranspiration demand by crops (mainly rice), but also for the production of dairy products such as Grana Padano cheese, bovine meat, swine meat, and grapes for high-quality wines. 

Piemonte farmers need to adapt to this crop irrigation challenge caused by climate change by optimizing water management. Under the umbrella of the MountResilience project, Regione Piemonte will develop a Decision Support Tool (DST) for irrigation management and an app for farm irrigation evaluation. They will analyze the impact of water use on the farm scale through a large set of farms in two demonstration areas, highly irrigated and proximal to the mountain valleys in the North (Valsesia) and South (Cuneo province) of the Region. The developed tools will be distributed and applied in demo-pilot farms in these two districts of the Piemonte region, characterized by paddy rice farms and by cereal and forage crops farms respectively.