About 2 billion people live without safe drinking water and the United Nations has set an ambitious target of ensuring everyone has access to a clean supply by 2030. Each year, as part of its drive to hit that goal, the UN highlights the importance of protecting and improving a safe drinking supply through its World Water Day event. The event encourages people to explore ways to save water and World Water Day 2018, on 22 March, looks at how nature can be tapped to provide solutions.
As agriculture is responsible for 69% of all freshwater withdrawals across the world there is an onus on the industry to do more, especially in providing more efficient irrigation. Growers are responding by adopting frontline technology to work with nature and help them design, operate and maintain more efficient, water-saving systems.
The biggest leap forward has come through the development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones, fitted with sophisticated imaging systems. Flying at heights of up to 120m enables the grower to map land more accurately and identify natural features like rises and falls in terrain which could otherwise lead to wasteful water run-off. Thermal imaging also highlights areas that can be prone to waterlogging such as pockets of groundwater or changes in soil type.