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WaterBee DA — Result In Brief

Project ID: 283638
Funded under: FP7-SME

Smart irrigation system ready for commercialisation

Researchers have successfully demonstrated that a new, smart irrigation and water management system is commercially viable. The system allows farmers to save water by irrigating only when and where it is needed.
Smart irrigation system ready for commercialisation
Agriculture, the world largest industry, wastes 60 % of the 2 500 trillion litres of water it uses each year. Droughts, climate change and pollution put further strain on our water resources.

WATER-BEE was an EU-funded project that developed a sustainable, environmentally-friendly watering prototype system in response to this problem. The prototype has now been up-scaled and tested on site in Estonia, Spain, Italy, Malta, Sweden and the United Kingdom as part of the follow-up project 'WaterBee smart irrigation systems demonstration action' (WATERBEE DA).

Irrigation water savings of up to 44 %, and 21 % on average were achieved during testing. Irrigation events were also reduced by up to 23 %.

The approach incorporates wireless networking and environmental sensors to create an intelligent, flexible, easy-to-use, affordable and accurate scheduling system. Furthermore, it can adapt to an individual user's requirements, soil moisture and environmental conditions, as well as different farm management systems.

Researchers found that even farms as small as 1.5 hectares (ha) could purchase a full system and expect an excellent return on investment. In fact, an investment into the complete system, which can serve an area of up to 20 ha, can be repaid within 5 years.

The team have developed a commercialisation plan, which will form the basis for setting up a WATERBEE company. This environmentally-friendly smart irrigation and water management system will help farmers, vineyards, golf clubs, public authorities and landscape managers maximise commercial outputs sustainably.

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