The overall aim of the project is to develop European scale tools for the rapid evaluation of the role that irrigation water has in the transmission of existing, new and emerging pathogens to the human population. The diverse sources of irrigation water used in the European countries (reclaimed water, superficial water, ground water and distribution water) will be characterized and critical points for the quality of irrigation water and the treatment processes will be analyzed for standard fecal bacteria, new viral indicators and existing, new and emerging water-borne microbiological risks, characterizing the population of human viruses, emerging pathogenic bacteria (including antibiotic-resistant bacteria), protozoa and cyanobacterial toxins.
The project coordinates the work, the objectives and expertise of the teams involved in 7 subprojects distributed in 4 European countries. The metagenomics techniques will provide a better understanding of the complex situation concerning bacterial/viral load in the transmission of microbial infections to the population and may be used to identify unknown risks. The final objective is to prevent epidemics and to produce the scientific bases to support the development of European/national regulation for water use for irrigation.