By – TRIPATHI SATYENDRA
Nepal Maitri Peace Award 2012
There is global consensus on food security challenges and increasing crop production to meet the demand across globe, especially in African countries and some parts of Asia and Europe as well. Population growth, increasing water stress and climatic variability, stresses on finding ways of getting more crop per drop to meet our food needs. All these factors increased pressure on natural resources, particularly water and land that leads to complex challenge with land-water-energy which cannot be achieved with traditional approaches and thus needs a multi-dimensional approach. One solution to this problem is the use of drip irrigation system which improves profitability by increasing crop yield and quality while at the same time reducing costs from water, energy, labour, chemical inputs and water runoff. In the conventional drip irrigation system, the farmer has to keep watch on irrigation timetable, which is different for different crops.
An automated intelligent drip irrigation system is proposed which saves time and does not require constant vigilance by Center of Excellence in Water Resources Management, BITS-Pilani, Hyderabad campus. This is achieved by installing sensors in the field to monitor the temperature, humidity and soil moisture which transmits the data to the developed software for estimation of crop water demands. Based on this sensor based real time feedback, a control system is designed which monitors and controls all the activities of drip irrigation system efficiently. In addition, a revolution is taking place in how water is being pumped in remote locations beyond the reach of electric power lines. Solar power has proven to be an ideal way to lift water for drinking, sanitation, stock tanks, and irrigation. Solar powered pump which are no longer an expensive, experimental energy source is also being used for pumping the water. Using this system, one can save energy, manpower and most importantly water to improve the crop production and ultimately profit.
Scientists from CEWRM at BITS-Pilani, Hyderabad campus were developed Intelligent Drip Irrigation system powered by Solar will lead to enhance the water productivity and empower the farmers. The field trail established through scientific analysis and find more efficient and low cost in comparison with conventional methods of irrigation.
Diversity of Agricultural systems, drip irrigation system needs to meet not only to large fields and high cost, but also cost efficient to adapt to small farmers as well. This design has developed with low-cost management to care about small scale farmers, so that it can meet the needs of small-scale drip irrigation system. An intelligent drip irrigation system has been proposed which provides a real time feedback control system that monitors and controls the working of drip irrigation system automatically and efficiently. It can be applied to the various crops such as Cotton, potato, corns, and fruit trees as well as greenhouse vegetable crops. Involvement of solar power makes this energy saving, saves manpower, optimizes water, improves production and ultimately profit.