Expected Changes, Economic Analysis and Final Beneficiaries
The expected immediate impact of the IMIS project will be an appreciable measurable increase in water use efficiency (WUE) - a combination of increased crop yields with decreased water use per land unit. The change and review of current scheduling methods and introduction of rational irrigation scheduling, in addition to using IMIS recommendations, will result in a significant improvement in WUE. The expected increase in water use efficiency is estimated at between 5 and 25 percent. This increase in WUE will allow a reduction in water allocation to agriculture without reducing total production. Annual operating costs of such a network are in the range of 10-20 cents per dunam (1000 sq.m.) or 40-80 cents per acre. These figures are reported in systems like the CIMIS, operated by the University of California Davis in cooperation with ARS at Parlier, California, or the Northern Israel network (www.mop-zafon.org.il) operated by MIGAL. This is a negligible sum relative to the expected benefits and other on-farm expenses.
The deployment of the electronic weather or meteorological stations will have additional impacts on agricultural and climatic management, such as allowing for frost protection, calculation of accumulated cold and determination of the need for oil sprays to induce awakening of fruit trees in spring, integrated pest management, crop modelling, and drought prevention and assessment. It is also instrumental in protection and monitoring of other environmental impact. The growers and agricultural support agencies where these programs are established are the direct beneficiaries of the IMIS project. Implementation of improved irrigation scheduling methods is increasing crop water use efficiency and additional uses for the weather station network ensures the sustainability of the proposed IMIS system.