Addressing Water Efficiency Through Smart Water Management
- Julie Bushell
Due to growing concerns about water efficiency and supply shortages, producers need tools that increase agricultural yield while conserving resources. Many choose to invest in advanced technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), which collect real-time insights and enable remote water management.
Digital Transformation of the Agricultural Industry
The agricultural industry has transformed significantly in recent years. Namely, producers are adopting more advanced technologies and conceptual frameworks to streamline operations.
Precision agriculture, or "precision ag," is a management practice that uses information technology (IT) to ensure crops and soil receive the nutrients they need when they need them. This strategy leads to fewer inputs, meaning growers can achieve "more crop per drop."
However, the data and technology needed to increase profitability go well beyond irrigation scheduling. Innovative water management and IoT, for example, allow producers to gather data on real-time insights from humidity to soil and plant health to leaks in equipment.
Network availability has been historically limited in rural communities, so connectivity is imperative. LoRa-enabled sensors on a Long-Range Wireless Network (LoRaWAN®) powered by Paige Wireless allow farms in remote areas to utilize the same technology and practices as those in more densely populated regions.
IoT technologies allow for the digitization of critical infrastructure, creating visibility of all elements, greater control of water efficiency, and drastically reducing the impact on natural resources and other inputs needed for crop production. Producers can use LoRa-enabled sensors and other devices, such as tractors and pivots, to continuously gather real-time data. No matter if they're mounted in the air as part of a weather station or below the soil, IoT provides accessibility and transparency.
This data-driven technology allows producers to document trends, identify weather patterns, revisit previous irrigation schedules, and more. Smart water management will enable producers to control utilities virtually anywhere and make more informed decisions about using resources.
Water Efficiency & Precision Irrigation
LoRa-enabled sensors and devices give farmers more visibility into their crops and the overall climate. They also enable more precise irrigation through features like:
- Automatic Irrigation: Producers can control water usage based on set schedules and timers that turn pumps on and off. This simple and affordable solution is currently used in approximately 80% of irrigation solutions.
- On-Off Threshold: This feature takes automation further by determining the volume of water used over a predetermined period to control when and how long pumps operate.
- Dynamic Threshold: This kind of irrigation controls water usage based on various environmental conditions such as soil moisture or humidity.
However, as the need to produce more while lowering inputs increases, producers must consider adopting technologies to help them become more efficient across every aspect of their operation, beyond data collection and water conservation.
The LoRaWAN provided by Paige Wireless is the nation's largest public, carrier-grade network in North America. It allows producers to incorporate data-driven precision agriculture, leveraged through the supply chain.
Paige Wireless's LoRaWAN network also supports the conveyance of water resources to end delivery irrigation technology, conserving water, and lowering costs. Read our latest case study to learn how LoRa-based solutions like those provided by Paige Wireless are revolutionizing water efficiency and management.