New article on the results of Info4Dourou 2.0 project
29.05.15 - The article presents the results of the Info4Dourou2.0 project after testing for a 3-year period (2012-2014) an innovative water management system for dryland irrigation agriculture in Burkina Faso.
"Technologies for Development, Low-Cost Wireless Sensor Networks for Dryland Irrigation Agriculture in Burkina Faso" © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015, S. Hostettler et al. (eds.), Technologies for Development, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-16247-8_3
Dryland irrigation is a major concern in arid and semiarid regions where agricultural output is low and water a scarce and vital resource. Irrigation efficiency and sustainability are, therefore, of paramount importance in these regions, where small farmers generally over-irrigate vegetables to avoid yield loss, resulting in excessive water consumption, unnecessary water pumping costs, and soil degradation.
Improving dryland irrigation support requires field data, which is often scarce and unreliable in developing countries, as it is mostly collected manually with obsolete equipment. Modern automatic weather stations are costly, and local resources for station repair and maintenance are limited.
Research project Info4Dourou2.0 aims to improve environmental data collection in developing countries by using low-cost wireless sensors networks (WSN). Hydrometeorological stations have been designed specifically to sustain harsh environmental conditions and limited local resources. They are simple to install and require little maintenance. The collected data is available in real time via a mobile phone and a web interface.
These fully automated stations have been developed by Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and the start-up Sensorscope. The aim was to provide a technology that would be manufactured, assembled, maintained and marketed locally. The results of the study show that by coupling autonomous and continuous measurements of meteorological variables with soil-water-plant-atmosphere models, we have designed a simple irrigation management system which has a strong potential to improve agricultural production: up to a 38 % yield increase has been achieved using 20 % less water compared to unassisted irrigation methods.