SWAMP: A High-precision Smart Irrigation System
This article was published as a part of the Data Science Blogathon.
Water is essential for ensuring food security for the entire world’s population, and agriculture is the main consumer amounting to up to 70% of freshwater. The water wastages are caused primarily due to leakages in distribution and irrigation systems. One of the most popular conventional methods, i.e. surface irrigation wastes a significant amount of water by wetting areas where no plants benefit. Localized irrigation can utilize water more efficiently and effectively, preventing over- and under-irrigation. However, to prevent under-irrigation, farmers often use more water than necessary, reducing productivity and wasting water. Therefore, solutions should be developed and deployed for sensing the amount of water needed by the plantation and for flowing the water to appropriate locations.
In this article, we will explore a high-precision smart irrigation system developed for agriculture as a part of the SWAMP project, which aims to tackle the challenges mentioned earlier with the help of the Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics, autonomous devices, and other related technologies. We will take a look at the Farmer App offered by SWAMP for smart water status monitoring and irrigation control.
Let’s start by discussing the challenges addressed by the SWAMP project!
Challenges Addressed by SWAMP Project
The SWAMP project has attempted to address the issues listed below:
1) Lowering the effort required to develop software for IoT-based smart applications.
2) Automating cutting-edge platforms and incorporating various technologies.
3) Incorporating diverse and cutting-edge sensors, particularly flying sensors (drones) that offer accuracy in the irrigation water supply.
4) Using Software platforms in conjunction with technologies such as IoT, Big Data, drones, etc for the deployment of pilot applications for smart water management.
5) Developing, evaluating, and validating new business models for leveraging IoT in smart water management settings.
6) Making flexible and adaptable technological components can adapt to various contexts and be replicable in various settings.
High-Precision Smart Irrigation System
Figure 1 shows the high-precision smart irrigation system concept that will be developed for agriculture as part of the SWAMP project. The main goal of the proposed idea is to make irrigation, water distribution, and consumption more efficient based on a comprehensive analysis of data gathered from all aspects of the system, including the natural water cycle and accumulated knowledge about growing specific plants. This solution detects all the leakages and losses and ensures better the availability of water in situations where water supply is limited, which benefits all parties.
Figure 1: High-precision irrigation system based on smart water management (Source: swamp-project)
As shown in Figure 1, broadly, there are three phases in a water management system for agriculture:
W1: Water reserve: Water reserves from various sources like lakes, rivers, dams, aquifers, etc., which follow the natural water cycle.
W2: Water distribution: Water is distributed from W1 to the location where it will be used (W3) via a network of elements such as pipes, pumps, valves, gateways, canals, etc. Water distribution may assume various configurations depending on the region/country, but getting water from a reserve to a field is always necessary. On the one hand, there are instances where water resources are prudently utilized and managed by a centralized authority, as in many Italian locations where consortia were in charge of managing a system of water distribution canals. On the other hand, sometimes W1, W2, and W3 are part of the same property and therefore are fully integrated, notably in many Brazilian agriculture areas. In the latter case, W2 is much simpler but needs to be managed carefully.
W3: Water consumption: In agriculture, one of the main uses of water is irrigation, which can be performed using various techniques.
The SWAMP platform will offer tools for gathering data from heterogeneous sensors, decision-making using various techniques, and modifying system behaviour by transmitting commands to actuators. The SWAMP platform will also offer real-time responses for adjusting the amount of irrigation based on environmental conditions. On the other hand, as adjustments are made to water distribution in a different timescale, the management loop for W2 will be longer. Integrating W2 and W3 management systems is also crucial because water usage triggers water distribution.
SWAMP Farmer App for Smart Water Status Monitoring and Irrigation Control
The Farmer App offers a user-friendly interface to smart water services utilizing the SWAMP platform. The services are accessed through the RESTful API and SWAMP API (See Figure 2).
Figure 2: Diagram illustrating how services are accessed through SWAMP API. (Source: swamp-project)
The Farmer App enables monitoring of field water status, including real-time measurements and historical data in the form of charts (figure 3, on the left). A satellite view of the fields is also available, allowing the farmer to see things like farm divisions, probe locations, etc (figure 3, on the right). The farmer can also visualize and modify irrigation plans suggested by the SWAMP platform. The irrigation plan suggests the timing and volume of water of irrigation events for all fields (and their divisions), providing the farmer control over the water cycle in their farm.
Figure 3: Snapshot of Farmer App including i) current measurements and historical data in the form of charts (Left Image), ii) A satellite view of the fields showing farm divisions and probe locations, etc. (Left Image), (Source: swamp-project)
To summarize, in this article, we learned the following:
1) To manage and conserve water by preventing under-irrigation and over-irrigation SWAMP project has been proposed, which ensures that the water flows to appropriate locations as needed with the help of the Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics, autonomous devices, and other related technologies.
2) Challenges addressed by the SWAMP project include i) automating cutting-edge platforms and incorporating various technologies and sensors, ii) Developing, evaluating, and validating new business models for leveraging IoT in smart water management settings, iii) Making flexible and adaptable technological components such that they can adapt to various contexts and be replicable in various settings, etc.
3) A high-precision smart irrigation system concept is developed for agriculture as part of the SWAMP project. The main goal is to make irrigation, water distribution, and consumption more efficient based on a comprehensive analysis of data gathered from all aspects of the system, including the natural water cycle and accumulated knowledge about growing specific plants.
4) The Farmer App offers a user-friendly interface to smart water services utilizing the SWAMP platform. It enables monitoring of field water status, including real-time measurements and historical data in charts. The farmer can also visualize and modify irrigation plans suggested by the SWAMP platform.
That concludes this article. Thanks for reading. If you have any questions or concerns, please post them in the comments section below. Happy learning!
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