SmartFertiReuse Demonstrating the value of water reuse for agricultural irrigation
Aureilhan Wastewater Treatment plant (France)
Access to good quality water is one of the major human and economic challenges for the decades to come. Population growth, accompanied by increased water use, will not only severely reduce water availability per person but also create stress on biodiversity in the entire global ecosystem. With agriculture accounting for 70% of the freshwater consumed worldwide, optimising water management strategies in that sector through the development of innovative solutions for crop irrigation is then crucial. Smart agriculture practices related to water and fertiliser management can be developed through water reclamation.
The SmartFertiReuse project is based on smart reuse fertigation solutions to simultaneously optimise crops demand for water and fertilisers, for a better agricultural productivity at a lower environmental footprint. The solution will optimise fertiliser dosing and the quantity of treated municipal wastewater used for crops irrigation based on a complex monitoring of soils and water (e.g. physico-chemical and microbiological analysis for an environmental and health risks assessment), crops (e.g. crop growth observations and measurements, yield measurements just before harvest) and fertilisers. This smart solution will rely on a set of probes and on-line monitoring devices strategically distributed across the scheme (i.e. both in the ground and water) linked to a central management system. Operators will be able to run and adjust the fertigation system through a digital dashboard allowing for optimum fertigation conditions.
Left: France Polymem and SEDE Environnement containers with UF and Bio-UV units in Aureilhan (France). Right: irrigation of crops in Braunschweig (Germany).
The SmartFertiReuse project began in 2017 and will last four years (3 irrigation seasons). The smart reuse fertigation solutions will be tested at two demonstration sites: one in Aureilhan (France) and a second in Braunschweig (Germany). Ultimately, all the results compiled during the project will be used to develop a decision support tool to assess and answer the water and nutrients needs of agricultural crops through a feed on demand strategy, therefore allowing for an improvement of the management of irrigation and fertilisation of crops.
The project partners involved in the French demonstration site include Sede Environnement, Irstea, INRA, Polymem, Bio-UV, Compagnie d’accompagnement des côteaux de Gascogne (CACG), Ecofilae, Veolia Recherche et Innovation (VERI) and Veolia Eau.
The project partners for the German demonstration site are AVB (AbwasserVerbandBraunschweig), SEBS (Stadtentwässerung Braunschweig GmbH), VERI (Veolia Research & Innovation) and TU BS (Technische Universität Braunschweig).
The French project is co-financed by the Fond Unique Interministériel (FUI), Région SUD and Occitanie and is labelled by Aqua-Valley and Agri Sud-Ouest Innovation.
Project Manager at Veolia Research & Innovation, France