Precipitation and water usage data in the region is being leveraged to help farmers save money, energy and water

Scarlett Evans, Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

August 8, 2023

2 Min Read
The data is being used to help rice farmers in Bangladesh save on water
Getty

NASA is providing satellite data to researchers from the University of Washington and Bangladesh’s Ministry of Agriculture, in a project to help rice farmers optimize water usage and crop health.

The data is being used as part of the Integrated Rice Advisory System (IRAS) program, established in Bangladesh to provide insight to farmers with rice crops in the region. 

Typically, farmers in the area pump groundwater from aquifers – a cost- and energy-intensive process – to water crops during the dry season. Under the program, data on precipitation and groundwater levels is analyzed to give farmers more accurate insight on how much water they need and how much they have used. 

By monitoring water usage, the IRAS program aims to optimize fuel and water use in the region and support a more sustainable agricultural industry.

“To create sustainable and climate-resilient agriculture for the future, we need to minimize irrigation waste and decarbonize the production by using affordable solutions that can be scaled globally,” said Faisal Hossain, IRAS’ leader.

NASA will be providing data and imagery to the project from its USGS Landsat mission, as well as from the Global Precipitation Measurement, a joint mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. 

Related:5G Satellite-Connected System Aims to Keep Drinking Water Safe

Those data sets are then combined with information from GFS, the Global Forecast System, produced by the U.S. National Weather Service. 

“The synergistic use of Landsat, GPM and GFS can help the world become more water-efficient and energy-efficient in growing food, while also becoming more affordable and convenient for farmers,” Hossain said. “Our hope is that this template can be applied to any region where we know what crop is being grown and what their crop water demand characteristics are.”

The IRAS team estimates the program could reduce agricultural water waste in Bangladesh by 

30%, reduce agricultural fuel consumption by 45% and reduce carbon emissions by 300,000 tons per year.

The program is funded by Bangladesh's Department of Agricultural Extension.

About the Author(s)

Scarlett Evans

Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

Scarlett Evans is the assistant editor for IoT World Today, with a particular focus on robotics and smart city technologies. Scarlett has previous experience in minerals and resources with Mine Australia, Mine Technology and Power Technology. She joined Informa in April 2022.

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