Platform for water management in agriculture 2030

The availability of robust conceptual frameworks to estimate the water consumption of crops together with the availability of satellite vegetation indices allow estimating irrigation needs in real time.

Context of the story

Increasing competition for the use of water among different economic sectors, coupled with the effects of climate change, suggests scenarios with limitations on water availability for the year 2030. This is especially critical in countries with arid and semi-arid climates where the scenarios suggest aridization of the territory. Thus, the challenges are focused on improving the definition of crop irrigation needs. This project proposes the use of new technologies to improve the availability of information sources to implement robust conceptual frameworks to establish crop irrigation needs. Satellite images allow monitoring crop development and operationalizing remote sensing tools for efficient irrigation management.

Annual crop development is monitored with satellite images

The implemented initiative

The objective of this project is to increase water use efficiency in agriculture through the use of new technologies applied to agricultural systems in LAC countries. The project is developing pilot projects in Chile, Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay, where conceptual frameworks and new precision technologies for water management are being implemented at two scales: plot and region. The technological tools used are satellite images, an online platform (MapServer) and environmental sensors. All of this provides information with high spatial and temporal resolution in productive systems, transforming traditional irrigation management systems into high-precision, informed systems, with the aim of improving the efficiency of water use.

Vegetation indices from satellite images allow monitoring the development of crops that, together with the weather, make irrigation management operational.

The technological solution

The ability of vegetation indices to evaluate crop development and estimate their evapotranspiration (ETc) has been demonstrated in satellite remote sensing investigations. The foundation of these skills is based on the ability of IVs to estimate the crop cover fraction, the absorption of photosynthetically active radiation (fPAR) or the leaf area index, all parameters that drive biomass production and the process of transpiration in the plants. From the sequence of satellite images it is possible to estimate the amount of vegetation displayed by the crop and therefore its ability to transpire against the demand of the environment. The PLAS FONTAGRO Platform is routinely updated with NDVI vegetation index images from the Sentinel 2A and 2B satellites. The transformation of the NDVI to a strategic parameter of irrigation such as the crop coefficient (Kc), which together with environmental demand allows estimating the water consumption of crops, which must be replaced through irrigation.

The experiences gathered during the past 30 years support the operational use of irrigation scheduling based on frequent multi-spectral image data.
Calera, A., Campos, I., Osann, A., D’Urso, G., Menenti, M., 2017. Remote sensing for crop water management: from ET modelling to services for the end users. Sensors, Basel 17, 1104.

Type of project

Results

The accumulated experiences support the operational use of spectral images for irrigation scheduling. The operational use of dense time series of satellite images with high spatial resolution allows the monitoring of biophysical parameters related to crop water use, throughout the growing season with an unprecedented temporal and spatial resolution. This information is very useful for farmers, professionals or decision makers (end users) since it allows the quantitative management of irrigation to be operationalized. The use of the online platform PLAS FONTAGRO (Web-GIS) allows users easy and fast access to the time series of images, almost in real time. In this way, advances in the evaluation of ET of crops, the accessibility to satellite images and the availability of meteorological information, allow to have an unprecedented access to sources of information on crops and to estimate accurately the water needs like never before it had been achieved.

Relevant data

The area monitored with the project reaches 200,000 hectares.

Tunuyan consumption
Water efficiency
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Water efficiency
Satellite Agricultural Platform PLAS FONTAGRO
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Satellite Agricultural Platform PLAS FONTAGRO
Technological pilot field
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Technological pilot field
Precision irrigation
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Precision irrigation
Professional trainings
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Professional trainings
Regional water balance
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Regional water balance
Thesis
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Thesis
Public tools
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Public tools

Support from space for water efficiency

SATELLITE AGRICULTURAL PLATFORM TO ESTIMATE THE IRRIGATION NEEDS OF CROPS

SATELLITE AGRICULTURAL PLATFORM TO ESTIMATE THE IRRIGATION NEEDS OF CROPS

Participating Organizations

Corporación Colombiana de Investigación Agropecuaria (AGROSAVIA) - Colombia
International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) - Colombia
Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias (INIA) - Chile
Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria (INIA) - España
Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria (INIA) - Uruguay
Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA) - Argentina
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC) - Chile
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) - España
Universidad de La Serena (ULS) - Chile
Dirección General de Irrigación de Argentina  (DGI) - Argentina
Universidad de Castilla - La Mancha (UCLM) - España
Universidad de Concepción (UDEC CL) - Chile
Agrisat Iberia S.L. (AGRISAT) - España
Los Tordos S. en C. (Los Tordos) - Uruguay
Universidad Nacional de San Juan (UNSJ) - Argentina
Universidad Nacional de Río Negro (UNRN) - Argentina
Corporación Autónomo Regional del Valle del Cauca (CVC) - Colombia
Tecnoriego S.A. (TecnoRiego) - Argentina
Fundación ArgenINTA (ARGENINTA) - Argentina
Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias (INIA) - Chile

Main donors

FONTAGRO
FONTAGRO
© FONTAGRO
E-mail: fontagro@fontagro.org