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The Spanish experience of smart irrigation with Neptuno

Despite being one of the most abundant substances on Earth, only a tiny percent of water is directly usable by humans. In less than 50 years water has gone from being considered inexhaustible and cheap to being seen as a scarce resource that must be husbanded and carefully distributed.

The United Nations has proclaimed 2005–2015 as the International Decade of actions in “Water for life”  and have included in their Millennium Development Goals halving the number of people without regular access to drinking water by 2015 and developing sustainable sources. At the same time, more than 70 percent of the fresh water consumed worldwide is dedicated to agriculture (up to 95 percent in some developing countries), followed by industry (22 percent) and domestic (8 percent). Therefore, policies linked to agriculture’s use and modernization have a large, direct impact on the development and optimization of the use of water.

Meanwhile, the world’s population has increased from 2,500 million people in 1950 to 7,000 million today and projections expect a further increase of 2,000 million by the year 2030. This means that mankind will need to produce more food, 80 percent of the production which will require irrigation. Although each person consumes from two to five liters of water per day, an average of 3,000 liters are required to produce the food a person eats daily. And this figure increases every year as the consumption of meat and vegetables increases while that of cereals decreases. However, the  availability of water for agriculture is limited by the increasing demand in other sectors where the price is higher (industry and households), the degradation and distribution of water resources and the need to achieve environmental sustainability.

All these issues force a production increase which must be achieved through infrastructure policies, the increase of irrigated areas (that multiplies production by two or four), the modernization of agriculture and the technification of farmers. This is where automation and irrigation play a major role.

Given the increasing pressure on the world’s food resources, how do you see technology making our agricultural industries more energy and resource efficient?


Download the full article to read more about how the Neptuno system puts the farmer in charge of their crop irrigation from anywhere and at any time.




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About the author

Enrique Monsalve

I am a technology and engineering manager at ABB. I'm responsible of Research and Development, manufacturing, marketing, pricing, documentation and support for products and applications in the utilities market.
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