Project

The WaterBee Smart Irrigation Demonstration Action is the follow-on phase from the very successful FP7-SME-007-1 WaterBee “Research for SMEs” project (222440) that ended in September 2010, and very convincingly researched, developed & proved the concept of the WaterBee Prototype to provide an unique scientific soil-moisture model that automatically adapts to each installation & crop with a distributed Web-based Wireless Sensor Networked (WSN) Smart Irrigation system to optimise Water Use Efficiency (WUE) in irrigation.

There is a pressing need and excellent commercial opportunity for such a system in Agriculture, which is the largest industry in the world and (according to the WWF), wastes 60% of the 2,500 trillion litres of water it uses each year – which is 70% of the world’s accessible freshwater – a huge threat to the environment. A major culprit is inefficient water irrigation systems.

In Europe irrigated agriculture is the biggest freshwater consumer (over 60%) in the Mediterranean, where drought is an increasing problem. To bridge the gap from the very successful Research project, and enable its SMEs address this significant market opportunity, WaterBee has been scaled up to a full reliable operational field prototype service, that is being demonstrated & validated over a 15 month period with complete growing cycles of various crops in 12 contrasting sites across Europe, in Estonia, Italy, Malta, Sweden, Spain & UK, to quantify profitable operation of the WaterBee service for Growers, with water savings of 40% while enhancing crop quality in each site.

The project has characterised and quantified the market, and identified potential users of a commercial WaterBee service. Based on these and ongoing feedback from the demonstration sites, the project is disseminating the WaterBee service to potential customers and business partners through various media and two specific events, and has developed and is validating a Business Plan for the SMEs to commercially develop and exploit the service after this Demo Action ends.