Integrating new technologies into the effective planning of irrigation schedules towards efficient water use and minimum loss

Y. A. Al-Mulla, S. Siddiqi, I. McCann, M. Belhaj, H. Al-Busaidi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Irrigation consumes between 80 to 90% of total water resources in arid regions. Hence, on one hand it plays a vital role in food security in these regions, but on the other hand it is depleting their scarce natural water resources. Therefore, it is crucial to adopt a mechanism that can preserve the role of irrigation on food security, yet with minimal consumption of the already scarce water so that it can increase water productivity and conservation. This can be achieved not only by adopting proper modern irrigation systems but also by integrating new technologies into the effective planning of irrigation schedules so that plants can be supplied with efficient water and minimum loss. This vital approach is the main aim of this study. This study tests the idea of combining a sensors-based method with a simulation and adaptive controller. This idea is introduced on three farms using three different types of irrigation systems. One farm is planted by date palm and lime tress and irrigated by traditional "Aflaj" irrigation system. The second farm is also planted with date palm and lime trees but irrigated by modern "drip" irrigation system. The third farm is a fan and pad greenhouse planted with tomato and cucumber and irrigated by modern "drip" irrigation system. The electronic sensors used includes weather station sensors, crop water requirement sensors such as sap flow and leaf water potential meters, and soil properties sensors such as soil water content and potential, soil temperature, and electrical conductivity. These are used to assess water status and flow through the entire continuum of soil, plant and atmosphere. Those were connected to data loggers and remote communication via cellular network which added a new dimension to irrigation management by enabling near-continuous and near-real-Time remote monitoring that contributed substantially in improving irrigation water use.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication8th International Symposium on Irrigation of Horticultural Crops
EditorsJ. Girona, J. Marsal
PublisherInternational Society for Horticultural Science
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9789462611450
Publication statusPublished - Jan 25 2017

Publication series

NameActa Horticulturae
ISSN (Print)0567-7572


  • Crop water requirements
  • Irrigation scheduling
  • Irrigation systems
  • Leaf water potential
  • Moisture content
  • Real-Time-monitoring
  • Sap flow
  • Sensors
  • Water productivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Horticulture


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