Conservation Irrigation Water Management using FOSS4G


Across the agricultural landscape of America, many areas exist where groundwater use exceeds sustainable levels or is approaching a sustainability threshold and this occurrence is becoming more and more common. This presentation will review an open source approach to irrigation scheduling including triggered PostgreSQL/PostGIS functionality.

In Minnesota, one of these areas is Little Rock Creek in Benton and Morrison Counties. The state has determined that this stream, a coldwater trout stream, is impaired for its cold water fishery due to decreased stream flows and the resulting increase in temperature, low dissolved oxygen levels and nitrates. A Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study determined that the impairment is related primarily to the increase in groundwater use; in part from crop irrigation straining the groundwater levels that feed this stream. The current tools freely available to producers to manage irrigation and groundwater resources are outdated and no longer effective to meet current needs.

This project consists of an open source web-based mobile irrigation scheduling application. The backend is powered by a PostgreSQL/PostGIS instance utilizing triggered vector and raster data processing within the system. To feed outside data in for calculations, the system utilizes python to pull NCEP Stage IV rainfall data using NOAA’s Weather Climate Toolkit in conjunction with python-gdal. Weather and stream monitoring data are imported, as well as groundwater and soil moisture sensor data. Flask and SQLAlchemy are used to tie the backend to the client side which is developed primarily with Leaflet.

For each user’s agricultural field, the system recommends irrigation timing and volumes on a daily basis while providing the status of the impaired resource throughout the growing season. The hope is that making calculated decisions on when and how much to irrigate based on individualized field factors (i.e. crop, soil, weather, irrigation, resource stress, etc) can reduce the environmental impact of irrigation while obtaining multiple benefits for producers, including increased yield and reduced irrigation input costs, using proven conservation practices.


Session details
Schedule info
Session Time Slot(s):
Thursday, May 5, 2016 - 11:15 to 11:50