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Smart on-line water salinity measurement network to manage and protect rice fields (SMART-PADDY)
Start date: Oct 1, 2011, End date: Sep 30, 2013 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"Rice is the main crop in wet areas such as river deltas and is an essential tool in Europe in managing protected ecosystems. Irrigation water is a key factor in the production of rice and water quality has a major impact on crop yield as a result of tolerance of rice to factors such as dissolved salts. Rice is more water consuming than many other crops: in continuous flooding cultivation it takes about 6 times the water required by wheat. Due to increased water use in coastal areas, the sea intrudes the water table and seawater floods nearby fields during storms in the Mediterranean area. The result is increased water salinity, which reduces yield in rice crops and increases soil salinity. Nowadays, water condition is for the most part assessed by visual inspection of the crops and, when excess water salinity is suspected, fields are irrigated by flooding them. In areas where water salinity is endemic, rice paddies are continuously irrigated with river water to reduce water salinity. This is a remedial solution that requires enormous volumes of water and considerable energy to pump water.Water salinity can be accurately determined by measuring its electrical conductivity (EC). Measuring EC at the water inlet and outlet of each paddy field can help in monitoring the “washing” effect of irrigation. Moreover, measuring EC at points far from water inlets and outlets can help in assessing water salinity in a given paddy field and at different depths in drainage channels can help in managing water salinity in larger areas. This project will develop a wireless sensor network comprised of low-cost EC measurement nodes and an autonomous power supply based on energy harvesting, that will be capable of transmitting readings in real-time to a central server. This data will enable cultivators to effectively manage and protect of their paddy fields and greatly reduce flood water consumption."
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