A precision irrigation app for smart water management by farmers
In a context of climate change and water scarcity which is globally recognized, Morocco is one of the countries that are facing already insufficient water supply for irrigation in order to sustain productivity and food security. Therefore, there is a strong need for adapting agricultural practices and developing new technologies for efficient and smart irrigation management to make best use of available water and maximize productivity per unit of consumed water. Recent studies have shown that water use by farmers in drip irrigation systems exceed in many cases the recommended crop requirements. This is due mainly to the limited knowledge of farmers for the irrigation parameters in relation to crop requirements, climatic demand and soils conditions. This work aimed to develop a Smartphone application that integrates all components of the soil-water-crop-atmosphere continuum to provide farmers, managers and other potential users with precision irrigation to help them better manage irrigation water and improve profitability per unit water used. The application allows the farmer to enter specific climate information or use information provided from nearby weather stations or satellite data. The application uses suitable crop coefficients (Kc) adjusted to the climatic context and gives the user the possibility of fine-tuning them according to crop cycle in order to obtain appropriate ETc values. Daily water needs are calculated using soil conditions, crop planting and drip irrigation system characteristics. The user receives then a daily water irrigation scheduling program for the chosen crop (amount and frequencies). The application keeps track of past water requirement and can provide a forecast of the needs for upcoming days.