Utilizing Water Wisely
As more and more areas around the globe suffer from severe water shortages scientists and engineers have been working together to develop more efficient ways in which farmers can water their crops. From 2006 to 2009 scientists worked on a European research project known as FLOW-AID, a water management project focused on developing new systems and technologies for irrigation and drainage that would help farmers increase their water use efficiency by as much as 60%, and in turn reduce their crops fertilizer demands by as much as 30%. The FLOW-AID system consists of solar powered wireless sensors placed in the ground that provide important soil information to growers regarding when watering is necessary. Farmers using the FLOW-AID system can actually check the humidity of the soil using their cell phones, and can even start their watering systems remotely using their cell phone. This way farmers would be able to use less water and still maintain their crop yields. The system has been tested and evaluated at several European sites and shown to do well. Hopefully it will soon be made available to growers world wide to advance sustainable water use.