The southern slopes of the Alps are facing a changing climate. This is acutely perceived in areas ideally suited to highquality agriculture, such as the Val di Non, in the northern Italian Province of Trento. Here agriculture has been constantly improving in technology and management. Drip irrigation now covers 100% of fruit tree cultivation, notably apple and cherry representing 90% of the over 8,000 hectares of farmed land.Cooperative management of resources, both in irrigation and land management, underpins and strengthens the agricultural sector in the Province of Trento. The Province’s primary legislative control over agriculture and environmental protection maximizes the legislator’s closeness to the interests and needs of agricultural producers and economic actors. This article illustrates the norms regulating agriculture and environmental protection in the Province of Trento. Secondly, it presents the ongoing complex research aimed at striking a new balance between environmental concerns (namely, the preservation of the quality of water streams in Val di Non) and growing demand for water for local agricultural production. The needto provide adequate water supply for agriculture conflicts with the necessity to guarantee minimum flow levels in local water streams, as provided for by law (environmental flow), as well as to preserve adequate quality of flowing water. The article proposes to connect existing irrigation infrastructure – irrigation networks, reservoirs and pumping stations. Itanalyzesa range of issues – parasite management; insurance against spring frost; labor protection; processing and marketing of produce. It connects with local research centers – the University of Trento for climatological research, the Mach Foundation for agronomic research and the Kessler Foundation for the application of new technologies to data harvesting and management.
Keywords: Water resources, Irrigated agriculture, Climate change, Environment, Innovation, Sustainable development