The work starts from the analysis of the objectives of the new Common Agricultural Policy which provides a tight integration between the agricultural and the climate-environmental components and that identifies a proper and efficient management of water for irrigation as an important instrument for the protection of this resource and, at the same time, for the development of primary sector. After the evaluation of the importance of irrigation investments for the competitiveness of Italian agriculture, the report contains an overview of the impacts of climate change in agriculture and of the economic models to estimate such impact; than it reports an econometric analysis to estimate the role of irrigation for Italian agriculture. Data used came from the database FADN. They refer to observations at farms level for the period 1990-2010. The main results of the econometric analysis are that irrigation of fruit and vegetable crops is particularly relevant to the northeast of the country (with an increase in income estimated in the order of 14%), and, the relevance of the irrigation of arable crops is related to the whole country (even if the most important impact has been observed for the south of Italy and the islands where we observed an increase in income of about 12%). In the second part the paper analyzes irrigation management in the different river basin districts. The analysis, made by OTE, shows a different degree of efficiency of irrigation in relation to the main characteristics of crops areas: in the Padano district and in the district of Alpi Orientali, with reference to cereals and fruit, irrigation management seems to be characterized by a lower level of efficiency; same situation is presented in the district of Sicily with refers to the cultivation of cereals. A higher degree of efficiency and virtuous behaviors emerge with reference to horticulture, floriculture and fruit in the districts Appenino Meridionale and Appennino e Settentrionale.
Keywords: Climate change, water resource for agriculture, water management, irrigation investments, rural development programming, River basin Districts