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STARS Project
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Goal

Sustainable intensification of crop production in the southern delta of Bangladesh, through a field-specific irrigation advisory system in conjunction with integrated services. 


Objectives

IrMASaT aims at the following:

  • Development of a field specific irrigation scheduling algorithm that takes into account salinity and potential contribution of the water table to crop growth
  • Assessment of the impact of the withdrawal of surface water for irrigation at a large scale in the Delta region on water quality and quantity. It will also take into account climate change and sea level rise.


Approach

The Institute for Water Modeling (IWM) is conducting a detailed survey of all rivers and canals in 5 study areas within the South Central hydrological zone, in order to refine a river flow model used to determine how much water can be safely extracted for irrigation. The model will simulate the long-term effects of water withdrawal considering different climate change scenarios and mixes of crops irrigated with surface water. It will also generate a set of recommendations to bring surface water to as many crop fields as possible. The results will be made available on an interactive web map server being developed by the Center for Environmental and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS).

The irrigation scheduling algorithm will take into account field specific conditions. Studies conducted elsewhere have shown that remote sensing can be used to accurately estimate crop water use. CIMMYT is therefore using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to monitor crop growth with a similar sensor as satellites do. Estimated crop water use will be fed into a model that simulates a soil water balance that takes into account salinity, water holding capacity, and contribution of the water table to the root zone. Using forecasted weather data, the model can then predict the field specific irrigation water requirements up to one week in advance. Working with the Bangladesh Institute of ICT in Development (BIID), CIMMYT is developing a prototype of an app for smart phones, that will inform farmers and irrigation service providers on a weekly basis whether and on which day specific fields need to be irrigated.

In order to ensure that this project fits well into the general context of agricultural research activities being conducted in Bangladesh, STARS is closely collaborating with the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC) and Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI).

Electrical conductivity measurements assessing soil moisture and salinity