Innovative Environmental Measurement Stations for Developing Countries
In a context of climate change and growing pressure over water resources, North and South partners from the private and academic sectors are working together to develop an assisted irrigation system in Burkina Faso, in collaboration with local micro-irrigation farmer associations.
Robust, autonomous wireless sensor technology adapted to extreme climatic conditions allows for automatic collection of eco-hydrological data and its use via a soil-water-plant-atmosphere model. This newly developed technology uses the mobile phone network (GPRS) to send data to a server via the Internet. The system makes the information available to the local community using a simple technique: when the soil becomes too dry, producers receive a text message alerting them that the plants need water and that irrigation should be triggered. The data is also available on the web for remote users (e.g. researchers). Alternatively, the technology can also be used to acquire other hydro-meteorological data needed for sustainable water resource management. The technology has been tested across Burkina Faso since 2012, and has received positive critiques from growers. Results show that the stations allow for significant water savings (up to 37%) while increasing crop production (up to 20%). Experiments are still underway to consolidate data on the irrigation management system as a mean for improving food security, contributing to sustainable management of groundwater resources and adapting to climate change scenarios.
– Transfer of “Swiss made” technology to a solution tailored to the specific needs of users and designed locally for affordability
– Creation of a local company to disseminate the technology and promote its use by local actors for long term sustainability
– Replication of research sites in other developing countries with similar climatic conditions (Tests in Palestine)
– Successful, private-academic, North-South research and development partnerships
– Development of a low-cost, sustainable environmental data platform adapted
to conditions in Africa
“Info4Dourou 2.0 is one of the projects launched by the UNESCO Chair in Technologies for Development in the ‘ICT for Development’ sector.”