Perspectives

Saving Water - The Future, no longer a Fad

Innovation

MotoIr and Branif experts weigh in on evolving trends in the Irrigation Industry

MotoIr PERSPECTIVE

December 2, 2019

2019 has been noted by the industry as a pivoting moment in the world of professional Irrigation and Water Management.

Technology that enhances the use of Water and its' application is making a permanent stay in the world of Irrigation and Water management.

In 10 years, there will be a shortfall of "a full 40 percent above current accessible, reliable supply (including return flows)."

We (seriously) Do Not Have Enough Water

We've been at the pulse in the world of technology in the professional irrigation industry since the words Technology and Irrigation could be used in the same sentence and what we can say is something very interesting is happening that we have not witnessed in the last forty years: Water is starting to be taken seriously. While it still does not garner the respect and value it needs to be in the sustainable zone, we've made a U-turn, albeit a slow one.

The simple fact is our world is requiring more water, and the harsh truth is that there is not.enough.water. The Modern Water infrastructure in developed nations is something we take for granted, however, it enables everything upstream to flourish. Our Agriculture Production. Health of the Population, The growth of the Workforce, The Economy, Its' Growth, and so on. Water is the fuel to everything.

As the Charting our Water Future Report shows with the IFPRI Impact Water Case Study, assuming fairly muted growth statistics, we are in for a water shortage on a largely concerning scale. According to the study, conducted in partnership with McKinsey, Syngenta, Coca Cola and other stakeholders, in 10 years, there will be a shortfall of "a full 40 percent above current accessible, reliable supply (including return flows, and taking into account that a portion of supply should be reserved for environmental requirements)". We will not divulge into the need to address the supply-side of this massive, global issue. Our technology is focused on utilizing water and all the upstream and downstream utilization and assets as efficiently as possible, hence: "Intelligence Moving Water", not "Intelligence Creating Water".

Source: McKinsey - Charting Our Water Future, Exhibit 1

Economics are forcing the change

Economic factors largely change industry. Yes, back to basic Econ 101, Supply and Demand. The way Governments, Land Owners and Society value water is still up for discussion to ensure that there is sufficient, clean, usable water for all humanity, productive industry and our world. However, the best way we can make water go further is by increasing efficiency. Technology that enhances the use of Water and its' application is making a permanent stay in the world of Irrigation and Water management, specifically:

  • SMART AUTOMATION – Integrated Systems that automate decisions and make informed water management decisions with information from advanced sensors, like Motorola IRRInet provide a significant tangible impact on water usage. Irrigation Professionals (Parks and Recreation Officials, Farmers, Land Managers, Etc.) are ensuring they have or have plans to implement a Smart Irrigation Automation system in their operations. This is no longer a "a nice to have". This is a "need to have" tool.
  • REPORTING AND DATA ANALYTICS – Yes, Flow Data, Weather Data, Soil Moisture Data, Distribution Uniformity, Flow Rates, Pump Speeds, Pressures and even Plant Stress are important, even essential in a modern irrigation/water management system. But for the modern Water User Professional, making sense of all the information can be a challenge and (this goes back to the Smart Automation above) needs to be actioned. If the flow is too high, moisture too low, etc., action must be taken. Tools that clearly display these trends, or even better, automatically adjust to these dynamics move that drop of water a bit further in the conservation world.
  • CROSS PARTY INTEGRATION – Each new technology provides a specific benefit. Certain sensors focus on specific parameters. Some on Soil Moisture, others on Plant Growth. Here's the thing, if each sensor is doing its' own thing, the benefit is strictly limited to one narrow area. Ensure the Smart Automation system can tie into third party sensors, APIs, and control logic to bring all this technology together as a solid platform. Hint: Motorola IRRInet is that platform.
  • EMBRACE THE TECH – Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the Irrigation/Water Management Professional(s) must be open minded, willing to embrace Technology as a very important tool in the shed. After all, it still is a team effort with Automation and the user(s).

Note: Currently, there is many forces driving the adoption of Technology in the professional irrigation and water management industry, and currently, most driving forces are led by Regulation, Labor Costs, Electricity Costs, and Fuel Costs. In Some cases, Water Shortages are hitting the bottom line, and this is becoming more prevalent day after day. But we want to keep the record clear that there is still a long way (if ever) before water savings alone will drive the investment necessary to implement water savings technologies, like MotoIr's. But we as a society can be thankful that saving water is inherently good business.

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