IrriSATSMS: helping irrigators make water-use decisions
Farmers are receiving phone messages with location-specific information to help with irrigations decisions.
25 November 2011 | Updated 1 December 2011
The IrriSATSMS system helps irrigators determine precisely how much water their crop has used and how long they need to run their irrigation system each day.
The system sends an SMS to farmers every day that distils information from satellite remote sensing and on-ground weather stations for their specific location and crop.
The technology has the potential to significantly improve irrigation water usage. The system helps overcome some of the problems which irrigators have had in the past in trying to understand when to apply irrigation water and how much.
The technology covers vast areas in fine detail at low cost, allowing irrigators across a district to use the technology without high outlays on expensive equipment. This approach also provides almost unlimited coverage at low cost, thus providing a widely available irrigation water management service for the first time that is specific to local conditions.
The IrriSATS system uses satellite images, collected every 8-16 days, to determine crop growth This information is then combined with daily data from on-ground weather stations to estimate crop water use.
Every day, customised irrigation scheduling information is sent out to irrigators by SMS messaging. The service can send actual pump or irrigation run times to irrigators to indicate how much water should be supplied to replenish that lost through evapotranspiration, thereby simplifying irrigation decisions.
The service also allows irrigators to benchmark their water use, in real time or at the end of the season, against other irrigators using the service. Irrigators visit a website where they can see how much water they have applied to their crops, and compare with other irrigators at any time through the season.