At Mapsens® we know how critical the irrigation factor can be for the correct development of crops, so that maximum production can be obtained from them. For this reason, in the aspect of the transport of a fluid through pipes, a flow sensor has been implemented to obtain information on water consumption, start-up, cut-off and evolution of the flow in irrigation areas.

Irrigated agriculture is a very important activity within the agricultural sector, mainly in terms of final production. It is well known that irrigated agriculture is the activity that consumes the greatest amount of water, around 70% of the total.

This, together with the scarcity of water in Spain, makes it easy to see the serious problem caused by the misuse of water in agriculture. From the perspective of water misuse, for example, derived from inefficient consumption, we can highlight the problem of water wastage, not only as an economic expense but also from an environmental point of view, which unfortunately occurs all too frequently in a large number of irrigation systems.

Sprinkler irrigation system

The knowledge of water consumption is crucial, although it is important to ensure that the needs of crops in different areas are met. Also, taking into account that consumption is directly related to economic costs and indirectly to environmental factors, it should be carried out in an efficient and responsible manner.

The efficiency of water consumption can be achieved through the knowledge and analysis of water consumption. We can illustrate the situation by the assumption of having a water distribution network dedicated to supplying different crops or critical areas, and the difficulty of knowing the different problems occurring at each moment, for example, a leak can waste many liters of water without anyone noticing it.

Drip irrigation system

The device developed, SensAgro A-3, flow sensor or flowmeter, measures the amount of liquid flowing through a given section of pipe at a constant time interval after irrigation has started.

From this measurement we can determine the irrigation start and end periods, water consumption intended for cultivation in certain areas, data on the evolution of the fluid transport to find out possible continuity errors; this could mean problems such as: leaks, ruptures, poor sizing of distribution networks, failure of certain equipment such as pumps, etc..

Field implementation scheme

The characteristics of the flowmeter/em> implemented in the development of the device has a maximum flow rate range of 60 L/min, with a water pressure of less than 2.0MPa (19.73 atm) and the liquid temperature has to be less than 120 ºC (120 ºF). According to tests performed, liquid flow rates with accuracy within 3% have been obtained.

The benefit with respect to the operability of the device developed is the autonomy for long periods of time over a wide area of land. Incorporating a solar panel, offering the user greater convenience and cost reduction by avoiding battery changes.

Visualization of actual field implementation

Flow monitoring signals the start of irrigation, the continuity of water flow and the end of irrigation. With the possibility of creating irrigation start alarms and knowing if a zone has been irrigated correctly.

Measurements of relative air humidity, ambient temperature and soil moisture at two depths will continue to be sent in real time along with flow rate monitoring.

From Mapsens ® we analyze the information about the flow in the pipes by combining them with the other measurements obtained by the field sensors.

Real-time data from an A-3 sensor in Mapsens® Agro

The field parameters are obtained in a fixed period of 15 min, an ideal time interval in which to collect sufficient data for a comprehensive analysis of the environment.

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