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  • Irrigation Management is improved with realtime groundwater-level monitoring

Irrigation Management is improved with realtime groundwater-level monitoring

The Wellntel Groundwater Information System provides a complete analytics platform – sensors, telemetry, and realtime analytics – that integrate real-time water-supply data with consumptive-use requirements to provide decision support for operational hydrology.

As agricultural operations continue to expand in areas where available groundwater supplies are restricted either by lesser saturated thickness or by allocation limits, often the full consumptive-use demands of some crops cannot be met using typical irrigation approaches. Under these conditions, Limited Irrigation Management is being applied to influence crop rotation decisions and water management during the vegetative growth stages – these farming practices are intended to minimize water stress during critical growth stages and to protect crop yields.

Groundwater managers, irrigation consultants, and research scientists are expanding groundwater-level monitoring networks to provide the greater spatial and temporal density of data required to manage these restricted groundwater supplies. However, monitoring expansion has been traditionally constrained by the costs of siting and installing new monitoring wells and equipment, and the inability to monitor on private water supply wells. With the Wellntel Groundwater Information System, expanding monitoring to private agricultural production is now a cost-effective reality.

Simple non-invasive sensors at the wellhead eliminate the risk of contamination to groundwater or damage to equipment in wells with submersible pumps. Connecting these sensors via telemetry to a cloud-based data visualization and analytics platform provides the means to track and understand real-time water-level measurements that are tagged to quantify pumping influence. The Wellntel system provides real-time online access to the analytics platform providing network scale research- and management-ready data.

An example of data provided through the Wellntel Analytics Dashboard is shown below – the hydrograph for this well reveals that the non-pumping water level has stayed fairly consistent over the past 9 months. However, the trend of the drawdown curves clearly indicate the impact of continued pumping in this aquifer. If supply were limited by the need to maintain a minimum saturated thickness, observing these trends in real time would be invaluable to optimizing operations. The detailed data collected for each individual pumping and recovery event also records pumping duty and helps quantify aquifer properties. Cumulative discharge can also be an output of the analytics platform so as to monitor production relative to allocation.

Pumping Activity in an Irrigation Well

With the Wellntel Groundwater Information System, operators employing Limited Irrigation Management can now integrate a real-time assessment of the restricted groundwater supply with the field-scale data that define consumptive-use requirements. By integrating water availability and the consumptive-use need, the best irrigation options can be identified to minimize crop stress during critical growth stages and to maximize crop yield under these water-limited conditions.

Contact Wellntel’s VP/BD Chuck Dunning, PhD, to explore Wellntel for your farm business.