Water Requirements for Irrigation (WRI)

WRI will extend and further develop Arpae’s operative agro-climatic services for the irrigators that is based on the iColt service. Spatial outputs from agro-climatic models can be download for GIS application or accessed via webGiS interfaces.

Engage end-users

The co-generation has been the process through which WRI climate service was designed with local users. An intense exchange of information and ideas was carried out, in particular with Consorzio di Bonifica Burana, also involved in project MUF. This co-design approach has brought several improvements in the original idea of WRI: for instance monthly replications of the seasonal irrigation forecast have been implemented to cope with expected earlier irrigation needs in spring. Finally, quality assessment was a key factor for the co-development and prototypes were tested with field data independently provided by users (water pumping volumes, irrigation practices and amounts, etc.)


WRI provides mid-term and seasonal forecasts of irrigation needs for crops on a webGIS platform.

The output data that WRI displays are: I. Early crop classification maps, II.Precipitation 7-day forecast (at daily time step), III. Irrigation 7-day forecast (at daily time step), IV. Maximum evapotranspiration 7-day forecast (at daily time step), V. Previous irrigation assessment (at daily time step), VI. Seasonal irrigation anomaly forecast (at monthly time step).

WRI has the typical features of a webGIS platform, where the user can display data on the platform as thematic maps; they can be zoomed in and out, the time slider allows to browse all the available maps (see figure 1). Each computational unit can be selected and a time plot showing irrigation, precipitation and maximum evapotranspiration 7-day forecast is displayed (see figure 2).

WRI is foreseen to be provided by means of a license-based business model. In more details, a freemium business model can be applied: premium content (such as ad-hoc and customised areas of interest) will be charged by a consulting fee, while basic functionalities will be offered by mandate to the customers.


WRI is a climate service in which probabilistic seasonal forecasts and deterministic mid-term forecasts are translated into information for water management in agriculture by providing forecasts of potential irrigation demand of crops. WRI combines information on current crops in fields from satellite data, observed weather data, climate data, (seasonal and mid-term) forecasts and a soil water balance model.

The early irrigation forecasts of WRI make water managers aware of the expected seasonal demand allowing them to manage the irrigation demand at medium-term (strategic support). Moreover, repeated forecasts can help them in fine tuning water procurement and distribution to farming districts in order to better set up the supply and the distribution of water to irrigation districts (tactical support). At the end of the irrigation season, final statistics are very helpful for evaluation and further analysis (i.e. the sharing of the cost of water management between users) also to regional environmental and water policymakers.


WRI is a value-driven climate service.

Users are willing to pay for a climate service providing forecasts on crop irrigation, updated and customized on water manager needs. This implies that the tool is as simple and clear as possible, it is daily/monthly updated with mid-term/seasonal forecasts, information are provided on specific territorial areas useful to better manage water delivery.

Developers team (ARPAE)

A. Pirola (Remote Sensing), V. Pavan and W. Pratizzoli (Seasonal and short-term forecasts), F. Tomei, G. Villani (Soil water balance model and irrigation forecasts), V. Marletto (Supervision)
Beta tester: Cinalberto Bertozzi, Fabio Paglione (Consorzio di Bonifica Burana)
Contact: vmarletto@arpae.it



Example of visualization of irrigation, precipitation and maximum evapotranspiration 7-day forecast on the time plot (2019 season) for a computational unit, selected on the map of the WRI platform