Agricultural water reservoirs (AWR) play a significant role in agricultural irrigation systems in Europe. In countries where water scarcity is a critical issue, such as the south of Spain, farmers save water in those AWR. However, they remain open to the atmosphere most of the time, which just in the Segura basin leads to annual losses of 78 Hm3. To preserve scarce natural water resources, water loss must be minimized. Nevertheless, existing solutions are not cost-efficient for agriculture.
On the other hand, the demand for energy in agriculture has grown due to the installation of more efficient irrigation systems, which is leading to the installation of solar panels on AWR to produce clean energy as a means of balance the electricity costs. As a collateral effect, the panels partially cover AWR, contributing to reduce evaporation. However, they are not cost-efficient for evaporation purposes.
LIFE H2OLOCK project main objective is to demonstrate a versatile and cost-efficient solution, specifically designed for medium to large AWR, that will ensure water evaporation performance up to 85-90% (vs. 80% of existing solutions), suppression of algae growth without the use of algicides (after 15-30 days of use) and production of renewable energy for irrigation systems, meeting the water requirements of the reservoir while maximizing power production. This will be achieved by the novel combination of floating modules, floating blankets and flexible solar cell panels integrated in floating blankets. This solution will contribute to the LIFE programme by helping to reduce the pressure on water bodies/resources, promoting sustainable water management. Additionally, the project strives for energy efficiency, contributing to the transition of agriculture to a sustainable, renewable energy efficiency and climate neutral paradigm.