Located southeast of the city of Milan, Italy, the area of study is the Muzza basin which includes the Muzza irrigation district with an area of 740 km², the largest among the irrigation district served solely by the Adda River and is the one with the largest water concession (2370 Mm³/yr). Major cultivated crops are maize and temporary grasslands, while minor crops include rice, soybean, wheat, tomato, and barley. The mean annual rainfall is about 900 mm, mostly during spring (from March to May) and autumn (from September to November). The fields in the upper-medium part are irrigated by surface water flooding, while in the bottom part water is lifted by the Adda and Po rivers through pumping systems.
The Adda River, the fourth longest Italian river, is a tributary of the Po river which flows into Lake Como, a regulated lake in northern Italy with an active storage capacity of 254 Mm³ fed by a 4552 km² catchment. The hydro‐meteorological regime is typical of alpine regions, characterized by dry periods in winter and summer, and peaks in late spring and autumn fed by snowmelt and rainfall, respectively. The Lake Como is situated in a region with complex hydrological relationships motivated by a variety of stakeholders with conflicting objectives both up and downstream from the lake (energy, irrigation, recreation, environment). The operations of the lake aim also to prevent flooding along the lake shores, particularly in the city of Como, and to protect the ecological conditions both of the lake and of the downstream stretch of the Adda River.