There is currently a certain interest in the efficient management of natural resources in order to protect and respect the environment. Therefore, due to the situation of water scarcity or drought in which we find ourselves, new tools are being developed to be implemented in irrigation communities. In this way, they will be able to control the use of resources such as water and energy, allowing them to use the amount of water necessary at any given moment and, as a result, costs will be reduced.

Recently, a further step in the digitalisation of irrigation has been taken by a team formed by researchers Emilio Camacho, Rafael González and Juan Antonio Rodríguez from María de Maeztu Unit of Excellence of the Department of Agronomy at the University of Córdoba (DAUCO) in collaboration with Irene Fernández researcher from Department of Electrical Engineering, developing a hybrid model with artificial intelligence called LSTMHybrid, which allows predicting the water that an irrigation community will consume in a week’s time.

Emilio Camacho, Juan Antonio Rodríguez and Rafael González

The researcher, Rafael González, points out that “the big difference with respect to previous models is that, this model is the first time that it has been done at a scale of 7 days“. He adds that this model contains more than one and a half million parameters, making it a complex construction that will be simple for the user, as “other important issues is that it uses only four variables: average temperature, reference evapotranspiration, humidity and previous irrigation records“. In this way, the irrigation community manager, who has this model, will only have to enter the irrigation records of the previous week, the average temperature and humidity of the area and the reference evapotranspiration, while the model provides the water forecast that the irrigators will use a week ahead, with an error of less than 20%.

In addition, Juan Antonio Rodríguez saids that “knowing the water demand several days in advance will facilitate the management of the system and help to optimise water use and energy costs“. Finally, it should be noted that not only will water supply improve, but if the amount of water to be used in a week is known, better decisions regarding energy consumption can be made by installing photovoltaic plants to combine conventional energy with solar energy.

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