Irrigation is the main use of freshwater worldwide with 69% of withdrawals and 93% of total consumption and the Mediterranean basin is one of the forecasted areas under risk of water scarcity. Within this context, efficient irrigation management at the farm level is key point in water consumption at regional level.
In order to achieve efficient irrigation is necessary to apply an amount of water according to the crop precise requirements. Nowadays, there is broad scientific knowledge on which to base a optimized irrigation scheduling for each particular scenario. However, to achieve an efficient water use at regional scale it requires reducing the gap between the academic knowledge and the actual irrigation practices by farmers.
Within this context, the IES project aims to develop a set of tools over an accessible web platform to optimize farmer practices acting as a personal irrigation coach. In this way, the project will improve water irrigation schedules used by farmers to finally get the overall objective of reduce water consumption. The core system is composed by three modules:
- The Virtual Crop: It implements the different available agronomical models taking into account all possible input variables to estimate productions obtained by applying different irrigation strategies
- The Irrigation Scheduler: It is the responsible to generate recommendations (Irrigation schedules) using different irrigation strategies (timer, based on EvapoTranspiration, advanced) depending on the available infrastructure and data.
- The Expert System: It is in charge to help the user to improve their knowledge by means of recommendations regarding to new useful data and better irrigation practices, in addition it provide an interface to collect farmers expertise,which once validated by the domain expert is incorporated into the IES knowledge base.
Furthermore, in order to interact with the core system, a web interface integrated in the RuralCat portal (www.ruralcat.net), which is supported by Department of agriculture, livestock, fisheries, food and natural environment of the Government of Catalonia (DAAM), is implemented. This interface allows the user to configure its cropland and analyse expected effect of his management decisions on his production in an easy and intuitive way.