Broadband and the sustainable use of water resources

Agriculture accounts for more than seventy percent of total fresh water consumption. Water use efficiency in the industry is often less than fifty percent. A changing climate and increasing competition for fresh water are stressing water supplies globally and limiting the scope for further expansion of agriculture to meet growing food production requirements. This situation is threatening the economic viability of many agricultural regions both in Australia and around the globe. It is a national imperative to develop solutions that will sustain this vital industry in the future.Improving water use efficiency through better irrigation practices is one method for coping with these challenges. Costs associated with capital outlays and engineering complexity are barriers to widespread adoption of efficient irrigation technologies. This paper presents a platform that leverages broadband communication networks to reduce these barriers to technology adoption and thereby vastly improve water use efficiency in agriculture. Results from recent field trials are presented that demonstrate increases in water productivity in dairy pasture and horticultural production. Copyright 2008 Syed K Saleem, Byron Wicks, Kithsiri B Dassanayake. No part of this article may be reproduced by any means without the written consent of the publisher.