Crop water requirement is the most important factor to be
managed while achieving sustainable agriculture. Its temporal and spatial
changes provide key information for irrigation scheduling and water resource
planning. The real time monitoring of microclimatic conditions are the only way
to know the water needs of a culture. With the advent of the Internet of
things, wireless sensor networks are playing an important role in monitoring of
these parameters. Because location is such a
crucial facet of IoT data, a modern GIS, fed by real time data, can be a
powerful tool for crop water management.
The use of
smartphones for administration of water resources is a sign of things to come
in “smart” irrigation, letting water managers and farmers optimize
their water use.
The basic methodology involves a
series of sensors that measure environmental parameters (like soil moisture,
rain, humidity, temperature, evapotranspiration etc) as indicators of field moisture
status. The data gathered from these sensors is sent across a wireless sensor
network. These sensors are effectively distributed over the cultivated area,
given that different areas of the field have different water requirements.
The sensors monitor these parameters and send readings to a
control station which sends all of this data to a central web service which
uses an intelligent software application to analyze the data and act upon it by
selectively activating irrigation nodes only in the areas required. In advanced
GIS based applications the output can be analyzed on the map as which parts of
the field are over hydrated and which ones need more water. The outputs and irrigation recommendations
are presented to the user on a Smartphone App or Web Browser.
is such large and important industry, it’s not surprising that several firms,
from the largest technology companies to startups, are working on IoT solutions
in this area. Some of the examples are mentioned below:
WaterBee services are provided across Europe through
collaborating Business Partners. The data gathered from sensors is sent across
a low cost, low power consumption ZigBee wireless sensor network.
An operational field
prototype of the WaterBee system is currently in use at 14 sites
across Europe, and is said to be delivering water savings of 40%, while also
enhancing the quality of the crops growing in each site.
Saving water with smart irrigation system
Starlab, together with other companies, has deployed a
remote control irrigation system for Barcelona that will help to reinforce its
Smart City status. Starlab’s contribution to the service is by soil moisture
monitoring with in situ probes that use Libelium technology. Two departments of Barcelona Council, Urban Services
and Computing, have worked with Wonderware to carry out the application which
can be controlled with computers,
smartphones and also tablets.
One project, called Skydrop just makes sense with drought
issues across the U.S. Using adaptive algorithms to generate custom and dynamic
watering schedules from weather data. Skydrop adjusts watering cycles, duration
and frequency to keep the fields healthy in any weather condition.
In combination with a remotely controllable sprinkler system,
the data could be further analyzed and presented graphically on a mobile app to
show the impact of user’s actions. For example, “By reducing water usage for
your field, you saved 8 percent of your target water usage for the month. If
you keep it up, you will save $100 compared to the amount you paid last month.”
Now this is information could be used to both make better
decisions and motivate to achieve certain goals.