NASA Satellites Help Save Water

NASA researchers have created a computer program to help farmers save water. The program helps farmers monitor real-time water needs on their farm by analyzing data from satellites, weather stations, and local rain sensors. The program then compiles this data for farmers and shows areas expected to need more irrigation. For example, areas which receive more sunlight would need more water than areas covered by clouds.
This program is scheduled to run for an 18-month trial period in the San Joaquin Valley. This beta test of the system combines satellite and surface information to calculate water needs. This program is expected to be implemented on smart phones and other devices such as tablet computers or android devices. Once finished, this program could be implemented on devices such as the iPad. Farmers would then be able to control irrigation scheduling from their fields—thus eliminating a significant amount of down-time in transportation.
Although not much information has been released about the program, it seems to be somewhat of a version of a wireless Weather-Based Irrigation Controller (WBIC). WBIC systems are programmed with information such as the plant type as well as amount of sun received and orientation. The WBIC then calculates how much water is needed for each zone, and waters accordingly.
For more information on water conservation, visit
Brian O’Neill


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