Irrigation Companies are Modernizing Water Monitoring – Can Better Information Secure Our Future Food Supply?

Water for Food - Hydrology Corner Blog

By 2050, a world population of 9 billion will require 60% more food.

The security of our global food supply is highly reliant on adequate water supply. According to the United Nations, “agriculture is the biggest water user, with irrigation accounting for 70% of global water withdrawals.” While the global population is growing, water supply is not. So to meet 2050 food demands, it’s important we learn to better utilize limited water resources for optimal agricultural production.

Today’s irrigation districts are being smarter about water use!

In dryer climates and drought prone areas like Australia, California, Puerto Rico, North Korea, Sao Paolo, and India … every drop matters. Investments in water monitoring and advanced data management are allowing irrigation districts like these to better understand, in real-time, the hydraulic and water quality integrity of their distribution networks. Better insight allows them to make economic gains, adopt environmental sustainability practices, and boost agriculture production using existing water supply.

Today, I’d like to highlight a case study from one of our partners: ADASA. Josep Selles, Country Manager for Australia in the ADASA Sydney Office recently shared a compelling success story with with me.

They’ve developed a platform called Rural Water Intelligence, which is providing rural water businesses like irrigation districts with an ability to manage their businesses and water resources better by unlocking the value of their data.

Since the middle of the last decade, as part of a country-wide reform programme called the National Water Initiative, many Australian irrigation districts have been modernising their open channel delivery systems with sophisticated control and measurement equipment that provides rich, real-time data on water levels and flow rate and on water delivered to farms. They’ve also been increasing their use of telemetry at river gauging stations, at weirs and dams, at rainfall sites, aquifer bore sites, and groundwater pumps, thereby generating more data.

By putting these data together, the Rural Water Intelligence platform is able to give irrigation districts a single view of their operations in real time, drawing data from all these disparate sources and data vendors and displaying it graphically.

Additionally, by integrating years of archived data, irrigation districts can better understand the real-time data by seeing it in the context of trends or historical precedent.

The availability of these data enables rural water businesses to define, calculate, and track in real time KPIs that drive their businesses, such as delivery efficiency, reliability, sales, and customer service.

One of the core components of the Rural Water Intelligence platform is our AQUARIUS Time-Series solution, which stores all the data integrated from disparate sources. AQUARIUS was used because of its modern web service interface that simplifies integration, its ability to improve data quality, and its ability to scale and handle years of data.

The Rural Water Intelligence platform enables rural water businesses to unlock the value of their data and manage their businesses based on facts and data rather than just experience or intuition.

This is a significant step forward in managing what is an increasingly scarce resource in a dry continent.

I would like to congratulate Josep and ADASA for their modern application of AQUARIUS Time-Series to solve serious irrigation challenges. If you’d like to learn more, join us at one of two upcoming irrigation conferences! Visit our team May 17 to 20 in San Diego, California at the 2016 USCID Water Management Conference. Aquatic Informatics will also be at the 2016 Irrigation Australia Conference & Exhibition – meet members of our team in Melbourne May 24 to 26. We hope to see you soon!


Resources_Case-Study-Murrumbidgee-Irrigation

Free Case Study: AQUARIUS Improves Irrigation System Efficiencies & Data Quality

“For the first time in our 100+ year history, AQUARIUS has provided Murrumbidgee Irrigation with a solid warehouse and analytical tool for our hydrological data. It provides a source of truth and level of confidence that we have needed to move forward as a leader in our industry.” – Chris Smith, Water Resource Analyst, Murrumbidgee Irrigation. Read case study here.

2 responses to “Irrigation Companies are Modernizing Water Monitoring – Can Better Information Secure Our Future Food Supply?”

  1. Bruce Franks - DataCol Group June 2, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Very similar systems appear in New Zealand as well – with a National Governance Standard in place that requires all water takes above 5 litres / second to be measured and in the vast majority of cases these are also telemetered. A huge amount of knowledge is now gathered to help understand where the biggest overuse of aquifer fed groundwater is happening. This is helping the country understand where the pressure points are and also facilitating decision making around where the large water storage projects should go to relieve this pressure on ground water being taken. So as well as just gathering the data – the systems we supply at DataCol and WaterMetrics are also helping our customers with alerts and warnings to prevent them exceeding their consent / allocation conditions, which are often 3 or 4 levels deep. So daily, weekly, monthly and Annual limits are set and cannot be exceeded or the users risk incurring a water abatement notice which essentially is a shut down – so no water equals no business. In the 7 years or so these systems have been in place there has been a dramatic shift in awareness of irrigation water use by the industry – including changes in behaviour. In New Zealand we have moved this debate along even further by now having to have Farm Environment plans that essentially ensure Irrigators can prove they are not over irrigating and therefore not leaching nitrates etc into the aquifers.

  2. Very important remarks! Water irrigation must be well planned to maximize the water supply needed to boost agricultural production. Modernizing this equipment is a great way to produce a large number of crops. My family is also into farming and it helped us a lot to apply new techniques from http://www.www.hunterirrigationsupplies.com.au.

Join the conversation