Andalusian innovations to achieve more efficient irrigation in the countryside and green areas

Five startups from the Minerva Program focus their technological developments on achieving a better use of one of the most important natural resources on the planet.

Andalusian technology is committed to care for water as it is one of the most important resources on the planet. Different startups supported by Minerva, have developed several innovations linked to the efficient use of water, especially in agriculture, which is one of the most important sectors in this region.

Remote irrigation control, detection of humidity levels or wastewater purification systems are some of the projects launched by entrepreneurs who have undergone this ICT boosting program of the Regional Ministry of Economic Transformation, Industry, Knowledge and Universities, together with Vodafone.

One of these initiatives is Sensacultivo, a device that is placed on the agricultural field to know in real time the health of your crop just by using a smartphone that lets you know when and how much to irrigate any specific plot, thus optimizing the necessary quantity of water. It is a tool specially designed for the cultivation of strawberries, fruit trees and now also for avocados.

This Huelva-based startup has just launched a new system designed for hydroponic (soilless) cultivation. This cultivation technique requires less water and nutrients, but its management from the irrigation point of view is much more demanding. Thanks to the new solution, farmers can know the drainage, humidity and conductivity of the substrate from their smart phones, as well as optimizing the use of water and fertilizers by applying irrigation only when it is needed by the plant.

For its part, Aquamática, a Seville-based startup, has created a sensorization system to facilitate the automatic irrigation and phytosanitary treatments. This solution allows to guide farmers to irrigate more efficiently through an app for tablets and smartphones, which means savings in the use of water and the possibility of controlling the irrigation area without the need to move to the plantations.

In the same field of water efficiency but this time extended to urban green areas and golf courses,Smart Biosystem, a company from Cádiz, has developed an intelligent irrigation system with a differentiating element: its energy solution based on solar nodes that make it the first irrigation tool which is 100% free-maintenance during its useful life (between 10 and 15 years). In addition to this, the system allows not only to make a qualitative leap by activating irrigation whenever it is necessary but also allows the early detection of leaks. This solution, designed for smart cities and precision agriculture, is capable of achieving water savings of up to a 60% and is currently being installed in parks located in 15 different municipalities in Málaga.

With its focus on the continuous monitoring, entrepreneurs from Granada have created Graniot, a web app that allows agronomists and farmers to control their crops weekly in terms of vigor, chlorophyll and water stress, thus helping them to decide on their irrigation and fertilization and achieving savings of the 15% of water expenditure.

Finally, focus on water regeneration rather than on efficient water consumption, we find the biotech company G2G Algae This Seville-based startup applies technology to the cultivation of microalgae to recover and conserve the planet´s natural resources and biodiversity. Its device makes it possible to produce a concentrated formula on an industrial scale in order to solve water pollution problems, among other issues. This microalgae cultivation also acts as an ecological fertilizer that regenerates the soil, reducing CO2 emissions at the same time.  

Agriculture is estimated to consume between 60% and 70% percent of fresh water, a figure that could increase in a 19% according to UNESCO. In Spain, agricultural activities are undoubtedly those that consume the most quantity of water, around a 70%.

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