Case

Irrigation efficiency is taken to the next level: By Smart, data-driven application

Based on satellite information and meteorological data, a comprehensive modernisation project has allowed farmers to achieve more productivity, abate water consumption and handle changes in the climate.

In the Sannio Alifano area, which is situated around Naples, Italy, the local rural areas have had an upgrade to meet the future requirements and challenges of the farming business.

The main goals of the project were to upgrade the existing network of open channels to a complete piped pressurized network, to be able to accomplish more productivity, to reduce the total water consumption, and to be able to manage the continuous changes in the climate.

Using data and calculations

 Knowledge is power. This also goes for crop farming, where the more helpful information available, the higher water efficiency and the more yield as end-product. The irrigation networks have been furnished with remote control systems and automated delivery groups for controlling water distribution to the users by means of an electronic card. To run water resources more efficiently, an irrigation advisory system (IRRISAT) offers farmers the advantage to receive “irrigation advice” on the optimum moment to irrigate, and the appropriate amount of water to apply.

It integrates remote sensing and agrometeorology, and produces maps of crop water requirements: IRRISAT puts data in the farmers’ hands within 36 hours from the satellite pass, following this sequence:

  • monitoring the crop enhancement through the analysis of satellite data in the visible and near infrared wave lengths,
  • acquisition of meteorological data,
  • processing of images for the estimation of crop water necessities by using F.A.O. models, and
  • integrating the data into a geographic information system (GIS).

The remote-control architecture builds of four levels; a field transmitter, a gate way, a server for network management and data acquisition, and the HYDROPASS software. Data is made available to the end user by e-mail, SMS and via a dedicated webpage.

Project results

AC.MO S.r.l. delivered about 2,000 electronic hydrants to the project. The complete management software is linked to satellite control and the existing billing system. The project outcomes show water savings of about 25-30% without loss of production, energy savings and community costs, increased farmer emulation within the market and detection of unauthorized irrigation and over-consumption.

And in a larger perspective, efficiency in farming ensoul biodiversity in production and can help revert the depopulation which is a big issue in the area. Also, it will support in securing the landscape and the necessary food supply.

The project is also an example of a perfect fellowship between the AC.MO technician, the water company and the end users i.e. farmers.

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