Kothapalli, Udaya Bhaskar (2017-12). Field Deployment and Integration of Wireless Communication & Operation Support System for the Landscape Irrigation Runoff Mitigation System. Master's Thesis.
The study of water conservation technologies is critically important due to the rapid growth in urban population leading to a shortage in potable water supplies throughout the world. Current water supplies are not expected to meet the water demand in the coming decades; this could seriously affect human lives and socio-economic stability. About 30 percent of the current municipal supplies are being used for outdoor irrigation such as gardening and landscaping. These numbers are increasing due to the increase in urban population. Due to the current inefficient or improper landscape irrigation practices, substantial amounts of water are lost in the form of runoff or due to evaporation. Runoff occurs when the irrigation precipitation rate exceeds the infiltration rate of the soil, which depends on the soil and site characteristics such as soil type and the slope of the site. Runoff being an obvious water wastage, it also poses a great problem to the environment with its potential for transporting fertilizers and pesticides into storm sewers and, eventually, surface waters. Thus, this study focuses on designing a smart operational support system for landscape irrigation that has the potential to reduce runoff and also decrease water losses in the form of evaporation. The system consists of two main units, the landscape irrigation runoff mitigation system (LIRMS) and an operational support system (OSS). The combined system is referred to as the second-generation LIRMS. The LIRMS is installed at the border of a field/lawn. The LIRMS consists of a central controller unit and a runoff sensor. Based on the feedback from the runoff sensor, the controller unit pauses and resumes irrigation as needed in order to reduce runoff. The main purpose of OSS is to automate the scheduling of the irrigation process. A multilayer perceptron based OSS was designed and implemented on a dedicated web-server. The OSS processes historical irrigation data and the environmental/weather data to choose an optimal schedule to irrigate on a given day. The OSS aims to reduce irrigation water losses due to natural environmental factors such as evaporation and rain. A wireless communication link is established between LIRMS and OSS for monitoring and analyzing irrigation events. The second-generation LIRMS was installed in the Texas A&M Turfgrass Research Field Laboratory, College Station, TX for performing irrigation tests. The preliminary results show that the average soil wetting efficiency has increased with the use of the operational support system when compared to previous tests performed without the operational support system. Also the results suggest that the second generation LIRMS has comparable runoff reductions when compared to the first-generation LIRMS. Yet, more tests are required to quantify the overall water savings.