Reducing water footprint of growers in Australia
The development of WaterWise began with a vision for increased water conservation.
Irrigation timing is crucial to minimise negative effects on yield and quality, but for most of human history irrigation management has relied on growers' experience, not data, to make decisions on when to water their crops often leading to over- or underwatered crops.
These decisions have led to water inefficiencies in Australia that have affected communities and growers.
WaterWise - improving irrigation decision-making
WaterWise allows growers to make irrigation choices with real-time data based on the crop, soil type, regional climate, system capacity, water availability, and risk.
WaterWise achieves this by:
- identifying biological targets, such as canopy temperature, to measure plant stress.
- using data analytics to incorporate this knowledge with in-field sensing and weather forecasts.
- developing strategies that use this information to build a precision irrigation decision-making toolbox.
Conserving water and increasing yields
CSIRO is licensing the WaterWise technology to agriculture startup Goanna Ag.
Goanna is already making WaterWise available to growers, allowing growers to increase yields by irrigating the correct amount needed at the correct time while decreasing their overall water footprint.
A recent independent evaluation found WaterWise has the potential to provide between $48 million and $769 million in economic impacts (present value terms, 2020) accruing to Australian agricultural producers between 2021 and 2030.
Apart from environmental co-benefits, the largest proportion of benefits are associated with operational cost savings through on farm use and increased yields on existing harvested areas for each commodity.