Saving water with connectivity

Watersave use LoRaWAN to automate irrigation and bore pumps


Machinery
CONNECTED PUMPS: Watersave team member Darryl Lyons pitches to a packed crowd at Pitch in the Paddock, Beef 2018.

CONNECTED PUMPS: Watersave team member Darryl Lyons pitches to a packed crowd at Pitch in the Paddock, Beef 2018.

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Watersave use LoRaWAN to automate irrigation and bore pumps

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AN AUTONOMOUS watering system, which uses clever connectivity solutions, took home third place at Beef 2018 Pitch in the Paddock. 

Watersave, team member, Darryl Lyons said he was motivated by seeing the inefficiencies on his parents farm in northern Queensland. 

“Australian producers are spending a lot of time and resources to deliver water to their crops and cattle,” he said. 

“We are wasting time and wasting water.

BEEF TANK: Pitch in the Paddock judges: Ben Ven Delden, KPMG; Sarah Nolet, AgThentic; Susan McDonald,Super Butcher; Glen Richards, Shark Tank; Markus Kahlbetzer, BridgeLane.

BEEF TANK: Pitch in the Paddock judges: Ben Ven Delden, KPMG; Sarah Nolet, AgThentic; Susan McDonald,Super Butcher; Glen Richards, Shark Tank; Markus Kahlbetzer, BridgeLane.

“The other big problem people are facing, is on-farm connectivity coverage.”

Mr Lyons said the Watersave autonomous watering system uses field sensors and pump control to manage water delivery. 

“We are using internet of things (IOT) sensors and  LoRaWAN technology,” he said. 

“With low power, long range battery sensors to automate water supply to your tanks and troughs.

We are wasting time and wasting water - Darryl Lyons, Watersave

“Trough, tank and bore sensors are connected to your diesel electric bore pump.

“When the tank level gets low, it will automatically start the pump and fill it. 

“When the tank is full, the pump will turn off. 

LoRaWAN  is a low power, wide area networking protocol designed to wirelessly connect battery operated thing’ to the internet in regional networks. 

Mr Lyons said Watersave had progressed a fair way since being chosen for the SproutX agricultural technology accelerator in May 2017.

“In August we built a LoRaWAN network in the Burdekin, Queensland,” he said.

“We have 10 base stations that cover 65,000 hectares of sugarcane.

“Currently we have 400 sensors connected there. 

“A variety of sensors, including weather stations, pump control and flow meters.”

Mr Lyons said the network covered 800 farms, including a flood irrigation test farm. 

“We are the first company to bring a full LoRaWAN system to flood irrigation in the world,” he said. 

“We are saving over 20 per cent in power and water in the trial so far.”

Mr Lyons said the company built all it’s own sensors in-house and it’s point of difference was being a hybrid system using LoRaWAN, point-to-point WiFi and SkyMuster NBN Satellite. 

“Traditional competitors are monitoring and just putting it up through the cloud,” he said. 

“We want to be different.

“Our system will have the software installed on the gateway

“So we can actually process our automation run, while there is no connectivity or coverage.

“When the satellite comes over, we can put the small amount of data we need to. 

“You only want to push up the data you want.”

Mr Lyons said future changes to Watersave included moving from a traditional weather station to a radar sensor for easier calibration. 

“Everything we are trying to make, needs to be hardy,” he said. 

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