CLIMATE change means that some Vega Baja growers could turn to crops that tolerate high temperatures and need little irrigation.
Carob pods, figs and pomegranates are traditional to the area, as is citrus fruit, but all have been eclipsed by artichokes and other green vegetables needing large amounts of water.
These trees do need additional water but in most cases it can be supplied where and when needed by drip irrigation systems controlled by sensors, explained Julian Bartual, director of the Generalitat’s Agricultural Experiment Station in Elche.
The centre is currently working on the necessary technology and training for a shift to alternative crops.
“Paradoxically, this inevitably involves irrigation if the aim is to make a profit,” Bartual said.
“But rational consumption, with irrigation used as backup, would cut the the amount of water needed by two-thirds,” he added.