Since the end of 2015, the Center for Research and Innovation Center (CRI) has incorporated, as one of its strategic programs, the study of water resources and climate change. This area, which has gained great relevance in recent years, seeks to analyze and understand the impacts of climate change on viticulture and provide tools to better adapt to new conditions.
In this new commemoration of the International Day of Water, Sebastián Vargas, R + D + i Leader in Viticulture and Enology, comments on the research being developed at the CRI and highlights the efforts that are being made globally to stop global warming.
Why is there a strategic program dedicated exclusively to Water Resources and Climate Change?
“All the scientific evidence to date indicates that this phenomenon is occurring and that its effects will be increasingly tangible for the whole of humanity. Resilience to climate change, to protect natural ecosystems and their inhabitants from the different threats associated with it, must be part of the pillars of an environmentally and economically sustainable company”.
“In this sense, not only is it important to adapt to changes and do things now, but also to have the ability to anticipate them. That is why we are studying different methodologies to mitigate the negative effects it is causing”.
What is expected of this program in the near future?
“It seeks to be a strategic program that implies a long-term commitment. Its importance in the company transcends over time, and the most logical thing is that it continues to answer other relevant questions to ensure the sustainability of the company”.
“In the short term, the idea is to design an irrigation management platform based on the fusion of two technologies currently used in research that measure the demand for water by the vineyard. One of them is the micrometeorological technique of high accuracy, called Surface Renewal. The other is a technique based on satellite images of higher resolution, but less accuracy called METRIC”.
“Its fusion will allow us to calculate in an extensive and more exact way the water needs of the vineyard, and thus we will be able to replace exactly what we need. This way, we will be more efficient in water and electricity use, which benefits our carbon footprint”.
How do you see the advances made in water efficiency in the country and the world? Do you think that the goal proposed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), that global warming will not exceed 2 degrees Celsius, will be achieved?
“The panorama looks auspicious in the short term; there are important state initiatives to make the distribution of irrigation more efficient, incentives for its technological development and construction of civil works for the storage and distribution of water”.
“However, all these measures are still subject to long-term effects, such as constant droughts. Emblematic cases such as the drought in Limarí and in Petorca in recent years show us that an advance in technological distribution and storage is not enough. We must create tools that allow us to understand how to irrigate what´s necessary at the right time, without running the risk of causing problems in the vineyards”.
The efforts of the world’s scientists are pointing to this and we are joining this tendency. The task is not small, but we are convinced that, together with our collaborators, we can achieve great progress.
Regarding the goal of the IPCC, I have the personal conviction that it can be achieved. We must consider that, although climate change can be exponential, technological curves are also exponential, so we have the possibility of advancing faster both in the creation of technology and in the adoption of it.