SmaCuMed has a clear transdisciplinary perspective involving a modular desalination process for groundwater treatment, novel-engineering processes, integrated smart-sensor network for real-time monitoring, and computer-based precision irrigation with highly efficient solar energy supply.

SmaCuMed’s main goal is to develop a fully autonomous operation plant in remote areas of Morocco, which is robust and equipped with a low-cost real-time sensor system for water production and irrigation management as well as environmental and socio-economic sustainability studies to support regional strategies for sustainable farming.

SmaCuMed Objectives

  1.  Modular system for desalination of groundwater for irrigation
      • Develop and demonstrate a modular and adaptable groundwater desalination system based on novel membrane capacitive deionization (MCDI) and low-pressure reverse osmosis (LPRO) for irrigation. Also, design and demonstrate solar evaporation ponds for brine treatment and study reuse options for resulting salts. 
  2.  Robust and low-cost water management control system in real-time
      • Develop an IoT-based smart sensor system to remotely control all relevant process and agricultural parameters for optimized water usage and precision irrigation in real-time to target sustainable crop intensification. Water balance models for crop irrigation will serve to increase irrigation efficiencies, adapting crop productivity to the effects of climate change, and improving soil and water management practices in the Mediterranean region. 
  3.  Highly efficient energy supply system based on solar energy
      • Develop a power supply with highly efficient solar photovoltaic (PV) panels & thermoelectric generator (TEG) combination, being robust for autonomous operation in remote areas.
  4. Awareness-raising, capacity building and knowledge transfer
      • Raise awareness among the local population on the environmental impacts of SmaCuMed on water management and irrigation by developing a comprehensive information campaign and information sessions.
      • Boost capacity building and best practice sharing between farmers, managers, stakeholders, and the scientific community through training sessions on-site (living-lab) of sustainable water treatment facilities.
      • Transfer of technical knowledge to the young generation by organizing a combined academic program (research, exchange, thesis) for outstanding students from university partners in Morocco, Tunisia and Germany.
  5. Economic support instrument and regulatory framework
      • Develop an environmental, economic and social sustainability assessment of the integrated system considering the context of the local environment in Morocco and Tunisia as an example for Mediterranean countries.
      • Enhance the regulatory framework of water supply and management and available economic support instruments for key stakeholders and decision-makers in North African countries through round tables and expert panels.
  6. Gender equality
      • Foster gender equality and better integration of women in the water and irrigation sector (e.g. Women’s argan cooperatives in Morocco) by organizing participatory consultation campaigns, workshops and expert panels aimed at developing a road map to identify specific action items, priority measures and a clear timeline for their implementation.