The The Cyprus Institute (HO) is a non-profit research and educational institution with a strong scientific and technological orientation. It is an issue-oriented institution, emphasizing international collaborations, cross-disciplinary research and post-graduate education. CyI is being developed by establishing research centres that address challenging problems that are important at both the regional and international levels. Its research centres are developed in partnership with leading institutions in the respective thematic areas. Currently CyI has three research centres: the Energy Environment and Water Research Centre (EEWRC), the Science and Technology in Archaeology Research Centre (STARC), and the Computation-based Science and Technology Research Centre (CaSToRC). There are three facilities that work horizontally across the activities of the research centres: the High Performance Computing centre which specialises in meeting demanding computational, data storage and management needs of researchers (see also discussion below for the HPCF), the Analytical Laboratory, and the Research and Innovation Management and Support Office (RIMS).
The EEWRC works in close collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany, the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation (RPF), and many national institutions and organizations in Cyprus and the region on societally relevant issues related to Energy and Renewables, Environment and Climate, and Water and Natural Resources. Over the past few years, EEWRC has streamlined its focus on energy systems with an emphasis on Concentrated Solar Power and Desalinated Water though its own research, but also through its collaboration in a number of important international projects.
The EEWRC has pronounced activities also in resource management simulation, regional stability and regional resilience and is looking to expand its activities in energy strategy and economics, and impact appraisal studies that will bring it closer to the policy makers. Also, the Center has also a PhD program in Energy, Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences. EEWRC is involved in various European and national funded projects related to water and natural resource management, environmental observations, hydrologic and climate change modelling, impact assessments and adaptation. EEWRC cooperates with various government organizations and local enterprises on water, climate and environmental research. The EEWRC has field and laboratory equipment for hydrologic and soil physical monitoring, including flow and water level meters, four meteorological stations, soil moisture monitoring networks at two agricultural sites and an intensively equipped forest water dynamics monitoring site with sap flow sensors.
Read more: https://www.cyi.ac.cy/ .
PROF. LAILA MANDI, DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR STUDIES AND RESEARCH ON WATER AND ENERGY, UNIVERSITY OF CADI AYYAD, MARRAKECH, MOROCCO
The interaction between water and food has always been perceptible or even evident in Morocco, but the awareness of the strong link with energy remains rather recent. Energy is used to pump, process, transport and distribute drinking water, as well as to collect and treat wastewater. However, it is much less apparent how much energy depends on water availability. It is estimated that irrigated agriculture currently uses more than 80% of Morocco’s water resources. Irrigation is an important factor in the development, modernization and increase of agricultural productivity. However, this sector in Morocco faces two major challenges: growing water shortages exacerbated by recurrent drought and low rainfall inputs, in addition to increasing competition from other uses including domestic, industrial and tourism.
Parallel to this scarcity, there is an over-exploitation of groundwater resources in most watersheds due to irrigation practices, dominated by surface irrigation, which contributes to low productivity and low water use efficiency. This practice is an emblematic example that illustrates the need to improve efficiency in the use of the resource. Thus Morocco, notably through the implementation of water resource mobilization infrastructure, irrigation schemes and organization of users, is a country with great experience in water management.
Water scarcity makes access to the resource directly dependent on energy for pumping, transfer, treatment and desalination. This water-energy nexus is particularly critical in a country like Morocco, which uses groundwater and pressurized irrigation techniques, accelerating mechanization of agricultural infrastructure, which produces hydropower, which launches desalination projects and water transfer projects and which produces some energy in agro-industrial processes. Despite this strong interdependence, historically, these two sectors, Water and Energy, were regulated and managed independently. In Morocco, we find that the energy in agriculture has not generated a parallel interest to that enjoyed by the water sector especially after the launch of the Green Morocco Plan (GMP) in 2008 and its entry into force in 2009. A 10-year water-saving program was thus developed focusing on the use of drip irrigation techniques on an area of 550,000 hectares at a rate of 55,000 hectares per year with the objective of saving 1.4 billion m3 of water.
As a result, energy consumption, in the absence of energy efficiency measures, grew by 17% between 2007 and 2010, an increase of 6% per year after only two years of GMP start-up; To maximize the performance of its agriculture sector by reducing energy bills, several programs have been developed. Currently, solar photovoltaic and solar thermal are the two most used technologies in Morocco. The national solar pumping program in irrigation water projects, with an estimated operational funding of 40 million Euros, stands as lever to capitalize on the energy in the Moroccan agriculture sector.
Agriculture in Morocco and therefore its energy and water component are growing, providing significant optimization and enhancement opportunities, scientific research and development of agricultural production systems that are sustainable and integrated.
In this context, it becomes imperative to consider the nexus Water, Energy and Food in an integrated and systemic approach to meet the objectives of sustainable development.
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