The adoption of pesticide mitigation measures and innovation at farm level, are seen as a drivers to reach the sustainable water policy objectives. With the aim to prevent the pesticide pressure of hilly vineyards on groundwater contamination, a stepwise approach in Tidone Valley was applied using different consultation mechanisms and involvement strategies throughout the overall process. Face to face meetings, direct surveys, participatory monitoring and planning of several activities aiming to inform, educate, improve skills, change of individual behaviour or raise awareness, or even initiatives to build institutional trust or support for new investment in innovation are some examples. These activities allowed us to involve key actors of water use and governance (such as farmers, advisors, representatives of drinking water management, farmer's associations, Winemaking cooperatives, local Health Authority), and to have a deeper knowledge of the context agricultural practices, of farmer's knowledge and skills concerning factors influencing water contamination and also to promote the most suitable Best Management Practices aimed at limiting the pesticide occurrence in groundwater. Indeed, the surveys results highlighted that the majority of the farms are small (64% of vineyards <10 ha), that most of the farmers (62%) are not aware of the current legislation on water, even if 64% of them declare to participate regularly to training courses for the prevention of water contamination and that there is a low to moderate level of adoption of Best Practices able to prevent contamination by pesticides. At the end of the overall process, it can be stated that the multi-actor approach and engagement strategy adopted were successful in improving attitudes to more sustainable practices. This is supported also by the monitoring data that show in 2019 a decrease by 44% of pesticides occurrences and a fall by 68% of values above EQSgw if compared with the period 2017–2018.
- Point source contamination
- Sustainable pesticide use