WaterGuard: Toward Cheap Automated Irrigation Systems Powered by the Cloud and TV White Spaces
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DescriptionIn 2009, United Nations experts called for radical changes in agricultural production systems to feed a projected 10 billion global population in a sustainable manner in 2050. Globally, this translates to a 67% increase in farm productivity despite shrinking arable land and receding water levels. Because agriculture consumes approximately 70% of global water usage, increasing water usage efficiency is key. In this paper, we propose a system, WaterGuard, leveraging long range radio (LoRa) and cloud computing to enable fully automated irrigation in rural farms. WaterGuard advances the state of the art in irrigation by sensing water stress in a plant through a microtensiometer implanted in its trunk. Additionally, it leverages an attribute-based application in the cloud to reduce the computational and human overhead in generating irrigation schedules. Lastly, we demonstrate the technical and financial feasibility of cloud-based, scalable irrigation systems through meticulous startup and maintenance cost comparisons between WaterGuard and the state of the art.