Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


WEAM4I Report Summary

Project ID: 619061
Funded under: FP7-ENVIRONMENT
Country: Spain


Project Context and Objectives:
The agriculture sector is accountable for around 30% of the total water consumption in Europe, but reaches up to 70% of total water consumption in several European southern countries. In the past recent years, most of the efforts have been focused on water efficiency improvement. Furthermore, these water efficiency efforts have been carried out without taking care of energy aspects, resulting in a significant increase in energy consumption, both per irrigated surface and per volume unit of water, due to the fact that many traditional irrigation areas have been transformed into pressurized irrigation, and the increasing use of groundwater from deep soil layers.

In parallel, we are living a fast increase in terms of energy prices all across Europe, due to many different factors, and impacting on the main energy sources. Moreover, renewable energy sources (mainly wind and solar), are quickly growing in Europe and generating some new challenges and imbalances in electrical net management, as well as making more difficult the match between offer and demand.

The main concept to be developed is the water demand-side management according to available energy offer. In line with it, the main objectives for the project are:

• Develop an innovative water & energy smart grid for irrigation: introducing demand-side management and matching with available energy offer, thanks to the water storage capability and the ‘near-almost elastic’ demand from users;
• Demonstrate innovative techniques for resource efficiency at local level: for saving water, for improving the m3/kwh ratio and for the minimisation of the operational cost of water supply infrastructures;
• Develop an innovative integration approach: an ICT/cloud platform based on a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA).

Project Results:
WP3: By using the automated hydraulically optimized WEAM4i- steering system from the beginning of the season, a 10 % reduction of energy use was achieved compared to former years. Furthermore, the systems were run at only partial loads during a large percentage of operating-time in the past. In other words, the potential pumping capacities of the pilots’ wells were not required. In those cases, the innovative steering strategy produces the largest energy reduction effects. In regard to the current costs for investment and energy, the amortization periods were estimated in 4-7 years. The online-recording of varying-pressure and pumping situations within an irrigation network offers the possibility for detailed evaluations of the different extraction situations (i.e. combinations of recent irrigation gun inputs). These measurements can be used for further improvement in the hydraulic and the steering field. This knowledge can be used as basis for developing a priority plan of further investment for the irrigation board, which would result in a more effective use of the board’s scarce means.
In Spain, data collection during the commercial operation of the system has shown energy savings of 16% when the newly developed algorithm was used, compared with an empirical grouping decision-taking, commonly used by irrigators. In addition, a table with a list of the existing information about Kc has been derived, having proved to be useful for a first estimation of the irrigation needs for the major water- energy demanding crops in the studied areas.
ZIM-probes were successfully used for monitoring water requirements in maize and citrus.; however, at least one more year of measurement must be carried out in order to obtain sound conclusions. In citrus, leaf turgor assessed with ZIM-probes showed highly significant correlations with two standard methods for assessing irrigation water needs (soil water content and stem water potential). Therefore, ZIM-probes showed their potential for successful scheduling irrigation in citrus orchards. However, the experiments carried out in potato fields showed a number of restrictions for the use of this technique that will be ameliorated in the future.
WP4: The day-ahead energy pricing information for the Portuguese and Spanish markets was integrated since M20 in the ICT WEAM4i data bus, but it was done based on a third-party connector. During the beginning of 2016, CREARA has created their own connectors to provide 1 day ahead ICT service information. The information retrieval for the module’s Strategic management only encompasses the Spanish demo site during the first year of the project. Nevertheless, it was decided to increase the scope to Portugal (see “WEAM4i Deliverable D1.2 First Annual Interim Report” and “WEAM4i D1.3 Second Annual interim report” for further details). The completion and testing of the strategic management component goes hand by hand with the definition of the demand management model and the conclusions obtained from the implementation of its testing plan. The HydrOptim tool has demonstrated that the energy cost optimization process works better with a one total value water demand to cover during 5 days, instead of 5 values to cover each day.
WP5: The Irrigation Demand Module has been fully implemented and tested for the demonstration sites and is ready for operational use in WP 7. WP5 is therefore concluded and cost during the following reporting period will mainly be related to licenses, maintenance and depreciation of infrastructure following the DOW.
• Addition of measurement interface to the WEAM4i bus. The manual system to get irrigation gifts is replaced by an automated service which reads the measurements directly from the bus. This is an important step since it allows automatic processing of the demand, so lead-time of the processing is reduced and the frequency of processing the forecast can be increased. Download of inputs is automated as well. In order to run the models’ data, it has to be downloaded from several sources. Downloading and processing this data is automated in order to decrease the lead time.
• Rework of data model: data model is aligned with WEAM4i data model, fields are now identified by a long integer, expressing the region.
• Configurable Irrigation Policy. Based on feedback from Germany, two new input parameters are introduced to give the end-users more control on the irrigation forecast. Up and till now, this irrigation forecast assumed that an advice should be given when the soil moisture drops below the point at which the crop starts to be influenced by a lack of moisture and temporarily wilts. As mentioned above, when an advice was given it assumed that the field would be irrigated up to field capacity. Especially this latter assumption was perceived as being ‘too much’, leading to an irrigation advice which would be higher than what a farmer would actually apply.
A service has been developed and implemented to make it possible to configure an irrigation policy per field, so it can be configured online.
WP7: • The data connectors have been developed following an standard WaterML format. This standardization has implied extra efforts, however, it will provide a clear advantage in the future, in terms of the scalability in the WEAM4i demosites and the replicability in future irrigation systems
• Almost all remote sensing, weather forecast, energy market and point data services are available and operational in the WEAM4i service bus, ready for the 2016 demonstration season.
WP8: A service has been developed and implemented to make it possible to configure a per field irrigation policy, so irrigation policy can be configured online. In the corresponding irrigation season framed in this reporting period, the operation in each demosite has been tested using this methodology of integration.
WP9: WEAM4i consortium members have been able to reach more than 3,870 stakeholders during events and more than 40,000 through newsletters and online media. The most targeted audience has been the agricultural and irrigation industries followed by the scientific communities, policy-makers, Medias and last the civil society. WEAM4i dissemination activities are detailed in the table of dissemination under these categories:
1) Conference/ Workshops/Meeting/Forums
2) Dissemination Materials
3) Articles/Press releases/Newsletters
4) Online Activities

Potential Impact:
The agriculture sector is accountable for around 30% of the total water consumption in Europe, but reaches up to 70% of total water consumption in several European southern countries. In the recent years, important water savings have been achieved without taking care of energy aspects, resulting in a significant increase in energy consumption. Irrigation in agriculture reaches up to 3% of total national electrical power consumption in countries like Spain. Thus, the new challenge for the irrigation sector is to minimize the energy costs while producing the maximum crop per drop.
Project objectives
• Demonstrate an innovative water & energy smart grid for irrigation: matching demand-side management with available energy offer (including renewable).
• Demonstrate innovative techniques for resource efficiency at local level: saving water and energy (m³/kwh) in the local irrigation systems.
• Develop an innovative integration approach: an ICT/cloud platform based on Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) for weather forecast and remote sensing data services & applications.
Building blocks
➢ Resource efficiency at local level:
• Leaf sensors and soil water status for improved irrigation scheduling protocols.
• Alternative power systems for low pressure irrigation systems.
• High pressure system optimization (GPS based pump steering algorithms) for improving water and energy use efficiency.
• Genetic Algorithms (GA) for improving water and energy use efficiency.
➢ Decision support System:
• Forecasting:
o Water demand forecasting: Water needs per field for the next 5 days.
o Energy Market: +4 days forecast for Day-ahead market.
• Strategical management: Based on Hydroptim.
• Demand management:
o Application of GA and/or Hydroptim for automated irrigation.
o Direct farmer decision with available information through Web portal.
Innovative factor
WEAM4i is the first smart grid dedicated to increase the efficiency of water and energy consumption together. It generates its solution by showing the weather forecast and crop needs of water while managing the energy aggregated demand forecasts from a central ICT platform; thus, water is captured and distributed efficiently when energy costs are more convenient for users.
Ultimate objective: Save money and resources by providing the best advice to the irrigators
Expected outcomes
• Improve the energy efficiency (kWh/m3) by an average of 10 - 15% while reducing the operational costs (€/m3) of the irrigation systems
• Provide success cases to help overcome the current barriers that prevent the water users to access the interactive energy market.
• Create market opportunities for WEAM4i innovations inside and outside Europe.

List of Websites:

Related information


Paula Corneli, (Accounting & Financial Manager)
Tel.: +34 934499245
Record Number: 191841 / Last updated on: 2016-11-21
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