Lemon and Water.

Resilience to Climate Change

The Segura River Basin is the territory whose waters drain into the Segura River, which runs through the southeast of the Iberian Peninsula and flows into the Mediterranean Sea. In this territory, 34,000 ha of lemons are cultivated (73% of the national surface area). Of this area, 25,000 ha are in the Region of Murcia (73.5% of the lemon area of the basin).  In the Segura basin, rainfall is scarce and the distribution of rainfall is irregular

AILIMPO has prepared a report where it analyses the use of water in the production of lemons in this area and highlights the resilience of this activity in the face of climate change. This report details the different sources of water supply, their historical evolution and future forecasts. At the same time, it describes the strategy to optimize and make efficient use of water in lemon cultivation through localized irrigation, and innovations to reduce water consumption such as controlled deficit irrigation, the use of soil moisture monitoring tools, and the installation of plastic mulching on the soil or covers for irrigation ponds.

According to FAO, improvements in water management and agricultural practices are needed to reduce the risks of water scarcity and improve crop yields.

The lemon sector has made significant efforts in recent years to optimise and reduce water consumption. The increase in the area with localized irrigation in lemons has been 268% in the last 30 years. These advances in irrigation and fertilization have managed to increase the productivity of the lemon crop by 274%. Today, 1 kg of lemons are produced using 63% less water than in 1988.

In short, the lemon sector has been adapting for years to the lack of availability of water resources, having alternative sources of water to those coming from rain (treated wastewater and desalinated water) as well as implementing technologies to reduce water consumption and to avoid evaporation.

Therefore, we are prepared for a scenario of decreased rainfall as a consequence of climate change.

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