The agricultural development of different areas in Italy has been closely associated to access to water and the crop Irrigation systems have always been an asset in terms of revenue and employment.
These are the main reasons why in 1961, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Italian Unification, the Italian Ministry of Agriculture started up a specific survey entrusted to INEA (now CREA) on Italian irrigation and the possible developments of the sector in the different Italian regions, which led to the publication of the ‘Map of Irrigation in Italy’.
Although, the present historical, socio-economic and agricultural scenario has deeply changed compared to the sixties, particularly with relation to European and national policies and to globalization of agricultural markets, water still plays a pivotal role, and indeed the importance of irrigation management has acquired a strategic value in the scenarios that are evolving at European and global levels.
Thanks to the research work done on the topic in the following decades, the Institute was able to make available reservoir of information, studies and expertise, which constitute a benchmark for researchers as well as for local, regional and national institutions.
The Atlas of Italian Irrigation systems of 2011 conceived as an updated edition of the Atlas published in 1965, it intended to enhance the research conducted so far and relaunch the diverse issues related to water resources, through a historical comparison embracing the fifty years following the first survey and through the dissemination of the results achieved. Besides, it aims at providing food for thought and new insights on issues, which are considered to be strategic for the primary sector as a whole, in such everchanging environment that keeps on generating a recurrent demand for research, the Institute intends to continue to provide its contribution.