SCC: An Integrated and Smart System for Irrigation Management in Rural Communities (Qiao USDA)

The SCC project titled “An Integrated and Smart System for Irrigation Management in Rural Communities” is an USDA-funded project that has the following research components: (a) low-cost sensors with smart connection that is capable of monitoring real-time weather and soil moisture, (b) numerical techniques to assimilate surface observation of meteorology and soil moisture for improving weather and crop phenology forecast, (c) the framework to incorporate weather forecast for decision making of irrigation scheduling for maximizing crop yields and economic benefits. The research team will use this integrated research capacity building to address the objective of “adaptive sensor energy management for resilience via balancing data upload frequency for forecast accuracy, and end-to-end system assessment from wireless network resilience and coverage evaluation for multi-protocol communication to software workload distribution (sensors, gateways, and servers) for reliability, performance, and energy efficiency. The following hypotheses will be addressed to achieve the objective:

-          Hypothesis 1: The smart system enables more reliable 7-day forecast of weather and crop phenology at high spatial resolution (3 km), and sensors in different locations can have different contribution to the forecast improvement.

-          Hypothesis 2: A certain length of forecast horizon exists for the study area, within which the weather forecast supports the optimal irrigation scheduling.

-          Hypothesis 3: The smart system can shift farmers’ irrigation scheduling decision from the current yield maximization rationale or experienced-based approach to profit based rationale; and

-          Hypothesis 4: The smart system can augment existing community engagement to enable smart growth in these rural communities, which in turn can further strengthen the data-driven approach for improving system smartness, robustness, and the connections between communities.


MERC provides evaluation support for the project by tracking project activities and outputs and assessing project outcomes and impacts.