Text messages helping the fight to save water

Text messages could help resolve the growing problem of a global water shortage.

A system called Plantcare is grabbing attention thanks to an article featured this week on ft.com. It’s an automated irrigation system which allows farmers to water crops with more precision and less waste, being be run from an iPhone.

The Swiss company is working on a smarter system which evolves the traditional methods of irrigation. Founded by physicist Walter Schmidt, the innovative system is already in use in several European countries.

Fields are dotted with sensors programmed to detect minor changes in soil moisture and information is relayed wirelessly to a computer. It calculates exactly how much water the crops can absorb, then makes relevant amendments. All the fields are lined with water pipes, which are fitted with valves that can be opened and closed remotely, according to how much water is needed.

The computer sends data direct to the farmer via SMS for monitoring. It is possible to reset the system if needed, or receive an alert if there is a problem, all through the smartphone, notes deccanherald.com.

Using mobile phones to aid farming has been heralded by farmers as incredibly useful. Patrick Vollenweider, a berry farmer in Switzerland, says: “The ability of the PlantControl CX to send us an alarm per SMS when a valve is defect or the water filter is blocked is another very valuable feature.”