According to NICTA, the Water Information Network (WIN) Project will provide the information infrastructure to support smart utilisation of the water resource on the scale of an entire water catchment.
'NICTA is taking a holistic approach to the issue of water management under the umbrella of the WIN Project. We have developed sub-projects to tackle particular areas of water management, including irrigation, natural river systems and urban water,' said Professor Iven Mareels, project leader for WIN.
NICTA has announced that the first sub-project is to develop a wireless communication technology infrastructure for on-farm water management. The new ICT infrastructure, consisting of a network of sensors and actuators that communicates over a wireless network, combined with sophisticated management software, will be able to provide irrigation water when and where it is needed on a farm so as to achieve maximum economic return.
A recent $1.5 million Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) grant from the Victorian Government's Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development brings together NICTA with the Melbourne Water Research Centre and Goulburn Murray Water to develop the smart on-farm irrigation system.
According to Professor Mareels, the ultimate vision is to develop the ICT infrastructure to manage irrigation water on the scale of an entire water catchment. The first project is one step towards this goal. It deals with on-farm water management, and will integrate with smart irrigation supply systems like Total Channel Control, a product of Rubicon Systems Australia and jointly developed with the University of Melbourne, to revolutionise the way irrigation water is managed. The aim is for Australia to achieve significant water distribution efficiency gains and obtain the best possible economic returns on water usage.
According to NICTA, the WIN Project will involve approximately 40 person years of effort over a period of 3 years, in addition to that of its partners.