Tuesday, April 16, 2024

How we’re supporting our commitment to water stewardship

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Smart irrigation in Chile’s Maipo River basin

Chile’s Maipo River is a lifeline in a semi-arid region. Beginning in the Andes, it flows through the bustling city of Santiago and provides water for drinking and agriculture for a staggering 40% of Chile’s population. But the ability to meet demands for freshwater from a strained supply is a growing concern.

Smart irrigation technology holds a key to improving agricultural water efficiency, reducing the amount of water wasted in the basin. It can boost farm productivity while reducing water demand and protecting precious and increasingly stressed water resources. Smart irrigation projects are on the rise in the Maipo River basin, but wider adoption is critical to achieving large scale outcomes that improve watershed health.

Our partnership with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) and Kilimo brings AI-powered irrigation management to 800 hectares in the basin. Kilimo’s solution uses satellite data, soil moisture readings, and weather information to provide farmers with real-time irrigation recommendations through an app on their phones. The recommendations help farmers know when their crops need water and saves them from wasting water when they don’t.

Water management in the Netherlands

The Netherlands faces a growing water crisis as climate change intensifies freshwater scarcity, rising sea levels, and salt intrusion into coastal farmlands. We’re partnering with BEF and Acacia Water on two innovative solutions to improve water resilience.

In Groningen, Acacia Water is collaborating with Fixeau to use technology to track salt levels in the water and make sure they don’t rise to a level that would impact crop production. A handheld meter with a sensor is held in the water and real-time data informs how and when freshwater is needed to flush out salts. If successful, this model could revolutionize water management nationwide.

On the island of Texel, farms rely on rainwater as their sole source of freshwater and irrigation is banned. We are collaborating with Acacia Water on a project to create underground storage of excess rainwater during the fall for use during dry summers. We’re expanding this aquifer storage and recovery system to help the system collect more water. As climate change intensifies, this model has the potential to become vital for securing the Netherlands’ agricultural future.



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