Problems and drivers
Irrigation constitutes a high share of the overall water usage, so improvements in this sector will have significant impacts not only on the water usage but also on food security.

Policy justification
Increase water and energy efficiency in irrigation systems and improve the sustainable management of the irrigation associations as the main consumers of water.

Overall objective
The objective is to enhance EU China cooperation on sustainable management, protection and use of groundwater resources within fields that take EU research, innovation and technology to the market to in China.

Immediate objectives

  • Improve water management and its efficient use.
  • Contribute to sustain and improve the environment.
  • Diminish diffuse and point pollution.
  • Rationalize energy consumption and foster alternative energies.
  • Increase the use of alternative water resources.
  • Develop technologies adapted to irrigation and incorporate irrigators to information society.
  • Consolidate the agro-food sector.
  • Create employment and incorporate young people and women to agro-food sector.
  • Increase territorial and social cohesion, attaching people to rural areas.
  • Advise agricultures in new technologies.


  • A common understanding and outline guidelines on sustainable irrigation management.
  • A project implementation plan of the guidelines during 2015 and 2016.
  • Four workshops (2 in China and 2 in Europe) to develop draft documents, support the achievement of tasks and exchange of experiences between irrigators.
  • Selection pilot sites in China, Portugal and Spain for testing the development of the guidelines on sustainable irrigation.

Related CEWP Focus Area and links to other Co-lead Programs

The present Co-lead program on Irrigation (Spain, Portugal, China) is part of the Focus Area on Rural water & Food Security, which also includes the Co-lead Program on Groundwater (Denmark – Shandong Province).