Innovation That Matters

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AI-driven irrigation: the future of efficient water use

Agriculture & Energy

This smart irrigation management platform is helping farmers save water, energy, and money

Spotted: Water management is a vital consideration for farmers. However, as climate change makes the weather increasingly unpredictable, it also becomes more difficult to make decisions on irrigation. Climate tech company Kilimo has developed a risk management platform for water security that helps farmers achieve strong yields even with unpredictable resources.

Kilimo’s AI-powered platform combines meteorological, satellite, and field data to calculate the amount of water a crop consumes per day, and maintain an adjusted and updated water balance for each irrigation sector. The technology can determine the potential volume of water that will move from the soil to the atmosphere (evapotranspiration), as well as quantify the health and density of vegetation in a given area (Normalised Difference Vegetation Index).

This information is combined with data on soil characteristics and daily water balance to give precise recommendations on when and how much to water a particular area. This, in turn, allows farmers to use available resources and optimise the use of both water and energy more efficiently. Helpfully, the platform does not require any field hardware installation or maintenance, making it easy to install and use.

The company has had a number of funding rounds and also recently adjusted its business model with a concept the company describes as akin to carbon markets, but for water. Farmers purchase and use Kilimo’s irrigation management platform, which decreases their water and energy use. Organisations can then purchase verified water savings credits — farmers receive direct cash payments and the organisation gets to meet its water sustainability goals.

Springwise is spotting more and more technology that’s helping to make farming more sustainable. Recent innovations include using satellites to predict extreme weather in the tropics and using basalt to improve soil health.

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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