WEIN Project – Development and Implementation of a monitoring and information system for increasing water use effiency in arid and semi-arid areas in Limarí, Central Chile

Commissioned by

Funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF | Berlin, Germany)
in the framework of the high-tech strategy of Germany ‘s program „KMU-Innovativ”

Project period

2012- 2014


Limarí, Chile

Facts and Figures

Agricultural landuse ca. 65.000 ha
Average Rainfall yearly: 146 mm

Project description

The growing world population, the rapidly increasing demand for high quality food and for water for agriculture use, the need to secure the provision of drinking water demands innovative and holistic solutions and products to increase the water use efficiency.

Especially in arid and semi-arid areas are these solutions required. Additional factors such as economic development, population growth and climate change deteriorate the situation. Therefore the longtermin, sustainable resource management at river basin level requires a complete , standardized and for all stuff members operable management system. Such complex challenges demand holistic and interdisciplinary solutions, which the WEIN-consortium develops and implements in the region in Limarí – Cental Chile.

Our aim is, to capture holistically the scarce water resources in order to control the water assignment for agriculture irrigation efficiently, on-demand and transparent. Shortly: We want to optimize water usage and ensure the agricultural production.
The monitoring and information system is based on the optimized SEBA sensor systems which detects relevant climate and water runoff data. On this basis, the water availability is quantified and modeled on catchment level. On irrigation system level, the channel outflow and reservoir lakes are sized continuously, in order to capture losses in time and space. The estimation of future water availability and demand is made through an integrated review of the measurement results, historical hydro-meteorological and socioeconomic data in combination with the use of hydrological models.

To account the available resources holistically, an extensive, continuous collection of data is required.
The innovative and customized sensor technology ensures this. The surface water and irrigation channels are monitored by newly developed, robust and cost-effective water flow and water level sensors. Rainfall and the lack of infrastructure – especially in the mountain region of the Anden – require a special adaptation of the installed sensors. Beside the problem of data transmission, rainfall and snowfall sensors have to work without an external power supply. The development of an energy-efficient and maintenance-free sensor combination which stands the rough climate conditions, is needed.


WEIN Datenfluss

In addition to the measurements an accounting for the farmer’s water rights has to be managed.
Orders for irrigation quotas are sent via Smartphones by the farmers and have to be edited. All relevant data (measurements, monitoring data, irrigation quoates,..) are automatically deployed and processed in the modular software system based on resource management system GW-BASE. Individual software modules are customized for the special usage scenarios and applications (e.g. water authorities, farmers, irrigation associations). For the first time, a monitoring and management system is available, which provides the possibility to use all relevant data for a holistic water management.

The collaborative product development will cover the worldwide rapidly increasing demand ideally. Based on already developed products and solutions, this project will develop an innovative system, which leads internationally and is oriented to market needs. A growing need and interest in this approach is already existing in other countries (China, Brazil, Vietnam, Russia, Middle East) and plans for similar projects t are already in progress among the partners.

In the future, further market development, the GWP (German Water Partnership, Berlin) network will provide significant support for international trade fairs and trade missions.

German Partners

ribeka GmbH, Bornheim
Development of water management systems as well as environmental science

ITTInstitute forTechnology and ResourcesManagement in the Tropicsand Subtropics,FHCologne
Area analysis, hydrological modeling, and for the development of scenarios and projections for future water availability in the context of climate change

Hydrometrie GmbH& Co KG, Kaufbeuren
Designer and manufacturer of Hyrdometeorological measurement

Chilean partner

ULS, Faculty of AgriculturalSciencesat the University ofLa Serena,Ovalle, Chile

CEAZA, Research Institute ofAridRegions, Centrode EstudiosenAvanzadosZonasAridas

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