Main research question
This project "Irrigation 2.0" aims to improve the efficiency of farm irrigation to ensure an optimal application of the available water sources. Additionally, farmers are informed about available alternative water sources that can be used in times of water scarcity. Both the water demand of the crops and the supply of alternative water sources are visualized in a user friendly and freely accessible online platform.
This project uses a combination of remote sensing data, weather forecasts and crop models. Potato, spinach and cabbage fields throughout Flanders are monitored intensively. The effect of irrigation with alternative water sources is investigated in terms of crop yield and quality. The existing platform "watchITgrow" is extended with functionalities that allow proper aligning of irrigation demand and availability of water sources with the right quality.
Consecutive summers with long periods of drought have left farmers with intensifying worries. The problem is not only the availability of sufficient water. Crucial elements in an efficient irrigation strategy are also water quality and the need to decide and prioritize about where to apply it.