Wetlands are highly productive, fragile ecosystems. This high productivity has led to the development of irrigated agriculture with increasing pressure on wetlands. Agri–wetland interactions must be precisely managed and precautionary measures must be taken in order to avoid that the soil use can significantly alter the soil functions. Specifically, soil salinization is a degradation process that is driven by irrigated agriculture in wetlands located in EU Med. regions, under arid and semi-arid conditions.

Soil salinization negatively affects the agricultural productivity and alters the environment of the surrounding wetlands, whose natural value has been acknowledged by international treaties (Ramsar), EU Directives (Bird, Habitat) or by instruments of biodiversity conservation (European EcologicalNetwork Natura 2000).

The pilot area proposed for the implementation of this system is located by the Italian N. Adriatic coast, in the Ravenna province, bordered by two systems of Natura 2000 areas, also included in the Ramsar list and belonging to the Regional Park of the Po Delta. The pilot area is affected by a remarkable soil salinization due to a combination of factors that make this area a good scenario to demonstrate the utility of the proposed technology.


- The main aim of this project is to develop an innovative system for water and soil salinity management in agricultural wetland ecosystems. This system will integrate a soil water and salinity wireless sensor network (WSN) with a decision support system (DSS) in a web environment. It will:

- save irrigation water, maintaining agricultural productivity, minimize soil and water quality degradation by salinization and allow the sustainable development of agriculture, particularly in the surroundings of valuable wetland habitats

- design and implement a WSN to control (i) amount and salinity of irrigation and drainage waters, (ii) soil salinity and water content and (iii) water-table depth;

- design and implement a web-based DSS that automatically scans the inputs from the sensor network to make irrigation recommendations;

- demonstrate the application of this technology for integrated water and soil salinity management in a Mediterranean agro-wetland, to ensure crop productivity and wetland conservation.

- contribute to the European Soil Thematic Strategy against soil degradation (COM (2006) 231,


- contribute to Habitat directive

- contribute to EUSAIR strategy (Pillar 3 Env. Quality)

Project details

Unibo Team Leader: Maria Speranza

Unibo involved Department/s:
Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Agro-Alimentari
Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile, Chimica, Ambientale e dei Materiali

ALMA MATER STUDIORUM - Università di Bologna (Italy)

Other Participants:
Innovacio I Recerca Industrial I Sostenible Sl (Spain)
"Agrisfera Societa' Cooperativa Agricola Per Azioni" In Sigla "Agrisfera Soc. Coop. Agr. P.A." (Italy)
Winet Srl (Italy)
Osv S.R.L. (Italy)

Total Eu Contribution: EUR 559.591,00
Project Duration in months: 46
Start Date: 01/09/2016
End Date: 30/06/2020

Cordis webpage
Project website

Clean water and sanitation This project contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.