Neiker-Tecnalia (Basque Institute of Agricultural Research and Development) has collaborated with the engineering firm Arson in the creation of a SCADA system for irrigation would save up to 20% water in each crop, compared with traditional irrigation methods.
With this technology, called Aquarson, are controlled centrally scheduling irrigation shifts and consumption of each irrigator, allowing management based on criteria that increase water and energy use efficiency of irrigation system.
The project is an initiative to improve management of water resources. To this end, we have integrated the knowledge engineering company that owns the remote Basque Arson and knowledge of agronomy and crop water needs Neiker-Tecnalia.
To carry this experience into practice, has enjoyed the cooperation of the Community Irrigation Zambrana (Alava, Spain), which facilitated the installation on their land in a pilot plant for automatic irrigation control comprising part of the hydraulic in an area over 500 hectares. This area is divided into about 500 plots allocated to irrigation for food crops such as potatoes and beets, the most representative products of the region.
How it works
The advanced technology lets Aquarson form a network of remote units connected by radio frequency, software connected to a central control and management, irrigation send the order to fire hydrants. Also collect the information of the risks run and the hydraulic operation of the facility. The order of irrigation was sent from a management and control application developed specifically to manage the irrigation system and installed on a computer at the office of the irrigation community.
Aquarson remote system installed in Zambrana has 20 remote communications equipment, distributed in 40 farmland. Each device has autonomy to handle more than one plot, and in addition to enforcing the watering can extract detailed information about each point of culture.
The unit has remote wireless communications units installed in each unit hydrant, which communicate via radio frequency with the computer at the headquarters of the irrigation community. The system helps to relax the irrigation management (subject to strict shifts per week), and found that controls the amount of water supplied to the land. From the control center issued the order to activate the watering points in each plot, as these are controlled by advanced software, set in turn based on agronomic criteria professionals. When deciding when and how much water is supplied, it takes into account the water needs of the land at that time and the delivery quota allotted to the community and water rates.
Three types of simultaneous communication
Among the aspects provided by this pioneering technology, highlights the possibility of combining different methods of communication. The system is able to establish communications combining GPRS, radio frequency cables (among others) to suit the needs of each facility, according to the type of management required, the size of the water area and its topography.
In addition, Aquarson can install sensors at key points of the system that transmit information to the Center for Irrigation Control, to detect possible cracks in pipes or control factors that can influence climate on irrigation (high winds or rain).
Its advantages include savings in the amount of water used per operation, which can reach between 15% and 20% in comparison to other more conventional systems.
In the case of the province of Alava, which tend to be situations where the amount of water available is less than the crop water requirements, the system can increase efficiency in water use. That is, possible to increase production using the same volume of water. Moreover, in the case of irrigation communities in which they are required pumps that consume large amounts of electricity, the system can increase energy efficiency by reducing energy consumption.
These quantitative benefits adds another, more qualitative, which affects the quality of life of farmers. The intelligent system enables the farmers irrigation watering schedule without having to go to hydrants. Also, the developed technology offers greater flexibility to allocate irrigation shifts. So far worked without clear parameters optimization and without a precise control of the irrigated area. With the automated system provides a better monitoring of water use, in order to prevent water shortages resulting in adverse water stress.
Finally, the program promotes the increased profitability of the land, which optimizes the distribution of water on the field in terms of economic criteria such as price of water or crops.
Advice to farmers
In parallel with the implementation of this advanced technology, researchers began Tecnalia Neiker-oriented advice to farmers, with the aim of offering practical advice when making the water supply to crops. For this reason, the technological center technicians have developed models that allow better management of water supplies for crops. These models are based on meteorological parameters (wind speed, rainfall and solar radiation) and economics (the price of water and its turnover by community) because they are factors that determine crop irrigation.
|Category: Agricultural Science||Tags: Aquarson, irrigation system|