The workshop was held on June 20, 2022. at the Faculty of Agriculture and Food, University of Sarajevo. It contained a total of 46 online participants and 40 participants in-person participants.
The main goal was to bring together key actors and stimulate discussion on strengthening sustainable water management systems in BiH. In addition, the workshop identified current problems and challenges of sustainable water management in BiH, with special emphasis on water management in the agricultural sector.
Based on these inputs proposals and recommendations were created to address the identified challenges.
The workshop consisted of two parts. In the first part the participants were introduced to the SMARTWATER project, and then they had the opportunity to listen to two expert presentations with topics:
• “Smart” agriculture: the state, perspectives and challenges in the use of innovative systems in BiH – doc. dr. Sabrija Čadro and
• Application of innovative solutions for the use of irrigation systems in BiH – benefits for farmers – prof. dr. Jasmin Grahić.
Through these presentations, the participants were introduced to the basic principles of “smart” agriculture, the tools used for its implementation, as well as the possibilities and realities of its application in the conditions of BiH agriculture.
The second part of the workshop was conceived in such a way that the participants were divided into three focus groups (7 participants in each group, two-session moderators, and one note taker), and an in-depth analysis of identified problems in the sector and proposals for its improvement. The key actors, and participants in this part of the workshop, were all those involved in the water sector, ie representatives of the governmental and non-governmental sector, private companies, academia, and agricultural producers.
In summary, key actors identified that water management, and in particular water management in agriculture, is of paramount importance due to increasing climate change, strong jumps in input and energy prices, and a number of other factors that make agricultural production high risk.
• All actors in the sector should direct efforts to raise water management to a higher level, the implementation of the existing legislative framework should be at a much higher level, especially in terms of the work of inspection bodies. At the same time, we need to work on strengthening the capacity of actors, and SMART technology is part of the solution.
• It is necessary to work on creating new types of partner associations, based on the sharing of responsibilities and duties in terms of irrigation system management, in order to ensure long-term sustainability.
• Strengthen data collection capacities (hydrological stations, meteorological, agrometeorological stations), and work on building a platform that will enable the collection and sharing of information, based on which future support measures and general public policies will be created.
• Work on the establishment of innovation hubs (or centers) that will support the implementation of innovative solutions, and thus contribute to raising awareness (of various actors) about the need for better water management.
• Media space is very limited to the promotion of good manufacturing practices, so strong efforts should be made to promote the application of SMART tools in agriculture, break down prejudices about its use, and identify the many benefits that this technology offers.