After undergoing two consecutive droughts, India is finally witnessing a good spell of rainfall, with some areas facing floods. Even as monsoon brings with it an abundance of water for three-four months, we must keep in mind that the precious resource that is fresh water, is facing global depletion. With water consumption for agriculture exceeding sustainable levels, India needs to take measures to avoid a drought-like situation the next year. Keeping this in mind it is very essential to adopt innovation’s in water management.
While the government plans to build dams, canals and reservoirs to battle the scarcity of water, it would take a few years for these plans to become a reality. In the meanwhile, farmers can adopt water management measures to reduce their blatant dependency on rainfall. Water management will not only conserve water, but it will also help the farmers in the smart usage of water. The following five technologies can help farmers with on-farm conservation of water in India:
1. Soil Moisture Sensors
- In order to receive a great yield of crops, it is very important to ensure that the water levels in the soil stay consistent. Since surplus flow or absence of water causes stress amongst crops, it can ultimately affect the yield of the crop.
- Therefore, these sensors are imperative as they help in monitoring the level of soil moisture.
- Majority of the sensors are created to detect the volumetric water content in the soil.
- Additionally, these sensors measure properties of the soil such as the density of the soil, electrical resistance, temperature of the soil amongst others.
- The soil moisture sensors provide real time data which can be downloaded wirelessly on computers.
- This data helps the farmers measure the water usage on the farm.
2. Drone Monitors
- While drones are making great strides towards agriculture globally, closer to home, drones are still at a nascent stage.
- Though drones have been in the limelight for logistics and mass video-photography, the future of drone technology seems promising in agriculture.
- Drones can map the entire field to ensure equal distribution of water.
- Additionally, drones also help in monitoring various farming equipment such as sprinklers, pumps and pipes above the ground for any damage, irregularity in the water flow and more.
3. Thermal imaging of crops
- It is essential to keep a track of the temperature of the crops to determine how much water the crops would need.
- Since it is a mammoth task for a human to individually check the temperature of every crop, drones can come in handy to scan the vast acres of land for thermal data.
- As drones provide an accurate and detailed aerial view of the farm in minutes, it negates the need of the farmer to physically examine every crop and leaf.
- What’s more, all the data collected by the drone is in real time and can easily be transferred to a computer or a mobile phone.
4. Weather Applications
- It is no surprise that the inconsistent and unsteady weather conditions in the past few years have damaged crop yield across the country.
- Even though the India Meteorological Department (IMD) does its best to forecast the weather and provide timely updates, the farmer doesn’t utilize this information to make informed decisions that can lead to conserving water.
- Data from mobile applications that monitor and predict weather should be considered while planning irrigation cycles.
- Factors such as wind, humidity, temperature, rainfall and more affect the soil and crop condition and thus, should be assessed and analysed to regulate water usage and conserve the resource.
5. Internet of Things in Irrigation
- Internet of Things (IoT) has made an exceptional foray into the healthcare, manufacturing, supply and logistics sectors. In the agriculture sector, IoT solutions can provide a gamut of opportunities to revolutionize the sector.
- Since irrigation is the key method of supplying water to the fields, it is essential to ensure that the irrigation equipment is kept up to date.
- IoT sensors can be installed in irrigation pumps to detect wear and tear, defect, leakage and more.
- These IoT sensors can also measure the quality of freshwater and determine whether the water is suitable for farming or otherwise.