Besides the project summary in this page, you can know more about the progress of our project in our news blog (in Spanish).
Project summary (2015/12/31)
The IRRIGESTLIFE project (2012/09/01 to 2015/12/31) is a demonstrative European project that has developed an irrigation system that optimizes the Irrigation water used in parks and gardens of the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz in Spain. To do this, four prototypes of a Smart Irrigation System have been created, which integrated into the Municipal Geographic Information System (GIS) manage to irrigate optimally the parks and gardens in the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz.
The system has integrated through the GIS some parameters related to weather conditions in order to adapt the irrigation rate to the real watering needs of each garden. As the result of that, water consumption can be saved. A series of sensors adjust the doses of the irrigation needs depending on the results of the parameters and the different needs of species in the flora and theirs maturity status in the garden.
The project aimed to reduce a 30% the current consumption of the irrigation water, making a more efficient water management and the optimization of water consumption. Furthermore, some events as leakages or the opening/closing of the water tap will be controlled and solved thanks to an alarm system.
The project demonstrates that a minimum 32,5% of water can be saved with the smart remote management system developed in the project.
The system has been created using open source coding and free components that are available for everybody in the market.
Technical Actions (A1, B1 to B6 and C1)
In Action A1 national and international cities were visited. A survey was done and its conclusion is that there were no smart irrigation systems like the developed in the project (remote managed via GIS, based on real-time information through sensors and made up using open source and free market components).
There were selected the more representative cities: 49 Spanish cities, 15 European cities and 10 international cities in all.
The attendance to the international main international irrigation fairs (Irrigation Show Orlando (2012/11/3-8) and Wetex Dubai (2013/04/15-17) were the main way to contacting the international cities. The European cities were contacted using the databases involved in the Smart Cities programs developed by the City Council of Vitoria-Gasteiz.
Through the networking activities (Sub-Action A2.5), the contacts with the cities have been carried out during the whole project.
In Action B2 a complete inventory of the irrigation systems was carried out from September 2013. 360 controllers and their components were inventoried. The inventory was updated once the 100 irrigation projects were implemented in Action B5 and the pilot tests were carried out in Action B6.
The information data of all the programmers and their associated drainpipe network components as well as their green components (plants, slopes, shade, etc.) were uploaded in the Municipal GIS creating different map layers for them.
In Action B3 four prototypes have been developed in PERICA’s laboratory: Decoder, Multicable, Mixed and Autonomous prototypes. After the fist attempts using PLC technology, this technology was rejected due to their poor results. Finally, SBC technology (miniPC) was selected and used ( RaspberryPi, Cubieboard and Beagelbone miniPC). The new technology used in the prototypes added a great value to the project in comparison with the proposed in the project.
The prototypes and the sensor boards were developed. The protocols were designed for the miniPC. The connections between the miniPC and both, decoders and sensors, were carried out with the master valve solenoid latch option. They can be connected with the GIS via modem and wireless equipments.
During their manufacturing process, some improvements were tackled using free components in the market and open coding. These improvements are for the prototypes and also for the communication system (for the Municipal GIS and irrigation system components).
A study of the options available for the communication system to be used with the programmers, the municipal GIS and the irrigation network elements was carried out. The best options were selected to be used in Action B5 and Action B6.
Three of the prototypes (decoder, multicable and mixed) were finished on 2014/05/31. The autonomous prototype required additional power consumption tests depending on the communication system was going to be used. Its development was much more complicated than foreseen, due to the difficulties with the communication systems. It was finished on July 2015. This delay did not jeopardize the project results as only the 0,9% of the irrigation surface in the project were irrigated by them. Besides, as the result of the networking activities, the trademark SAMCLA agreed to collaborate with the project and opened their autonomous irrigation programmers in order to develop a bridge code between their programmers and the GIS. It could be considered as a 5th prototype. Five SAMCLA units were connected to the GIS to be checked.
The prototypes were validated in the laboratory as well in field under controlled conditions. Further validation were carried out in Action B5 and Action B6 in the 100 programmers.
The new irrigation programmers and the developed software were commercially called Gestdropper and Irrisoft.
In Action B4 the assessment of the needs for the GIS and the technical design of the system was carried out. From November 2013 to December 2014 it was developed the Web GIS application and the Desktop application for the remote management. The Web GIS application was tackled in order to have a tool to carry out the tests prior to the GIS Desktop implementation. This was the tool used until the Desktop application was fully installed in the City Council GIS infrastructure. The final Desktop application was developed and from 2015/07/01 and was fully integrated with the Corporate GIS of the City of Vitoria-Gasteiz (the so called Via Digital of de City Council). Besides, the staff of the City Council were trained in order to provide them the requested management skills.
It was developed the system of alerts and alarms according to three priority levels: events, alerts and alarms.
Once the geographical and the semantic information of the irrigation network of the city (Action B2) was captured and validated, they were uploaded in the GIS of the City Council Corporate GIS. This information is already managed from the municipal GIS and is updated every year before and during the irrigation season.
In Action B5 150 installations were checked in order to choose the 100 more suitable ones to be prepared for the pilot tests. Among them, 115 mini-projects were designed, from which, 100 were finally defined with 100 programmers involved.
100 irrigation projects, with 100 programmers were designed and built in order to carry out the pilot tests in Action B6. Even when all the irrigation projects were completed on February 2015, the autonomous programmers were installed and validated from August to November 2015, due to above mentioned delays in Action B3.
From the regulatory point of view, water networks and public irrigation systems are controlled by AMVISA (the water supplier in the city). The project allowed to have a close collaboration with them from the very beginning of the project, in order to guarantee that the rules were followed and the quality of actions carried out were excellent. AMVISA appreciates the collaboration.
The 100 irrigation projects covered 1.155.400 m2 of green areas of the city organized in 5 zones: North, South, East, West and central.
After having performed the validations in the field, the “testing program” was implemented.
In Action B6 the pilot tests were carried out during the irrigation season of 2015. It was demonstrated that an average of 32'5% of irrigation water can be saved using the developed smart remote managed irrigation system of the project.
During 2014 and in the first 6 months of 2015, the validation tests of the Gestdroppers Decoder, Multicable and Mixed were finished and the monitoring system of the whole irrigation system was designed and scheduled. The methodology to carry out the monitoring and assessment of the pilot tests was prepared before the irrigation season started, during the validations carried out in Action B5.
The irrigation season started as foreseen 2015/06/01 and lasted until 2015/08/31. The whole irrigation functionalities and the communication system was tested during the project, except the real performance of the autonomous during the irrigation season.
The first programme parameters were decided jointly with the City Council managers. The irrigation was scheduled in the same way it had been done during the previous years. The rainfall and ETP pre-calculation tool came into action from the moment when the meteorological stations were validated. Watering times, and the subsequent water consumptions, were daily adjusted using this tool. An assessment model was designed and adapted to each programmer. On the bases of the watering base line, the irrigation amounts of each programmer were automatically recalculated.
The objective of this action was achieved as it was demonstrated that 114.000 m3 of water savings could be obtained, the equivalent to an amount from 30% to 35% (average 32,5%). This amount could be higher in the forthcoming seasons as the result of a more accurate planning and adjustments.
In Action C1, during the definition of the project a first indicator list was proposed with the previous experience of the partners in that field. These indicators were reviewed and a new proposal of indicators was submitted in the Mid-term Repost (2014/03/31). However, only after the installation and implementation of the GestDropper system in Action B6, the partners were able to assess the adequacy of some of these indicators. As a result of that, after ending the irrigation campaign of the year 2015 (2015/08/31) a number of indicators were redefined based on the existing information. This way, the indicators panel was agreed and used, from 2015 on, to monitor the water savings obtained after the implementation of the GestDropper system.
The indicator that best reflects the impact of GestDropper system calculates the amount of water (in liters) supplied during the irrigation campaign in the green areas where GestDropper was installed (I-20). While the data for 2015 is the actual data measured by the GestDropper programmers, for the years 2011-2014, data are calculated based on the manual settings of the sprinklers (constant for the entire irrigation campaign without adapting to the real evapotranspiration). Thus the water consumption varied from an average of 419 l/m2 between 2011 and 2014, to 285 l/m2 in 2015, the first year GestDropper was operating (savings 32%).
In Action E2.5 networking actions were carried out during the project. In a fist stage, 4 templates were designed to identify and register the recipients of the networking activities: Life projects, manufactures, cities and other groups of interest. There was a register available to all the partners where the networking activities were recorded. 42 LIFE Project initially selected and 13 out of them were identified as the most interesting to tie any kind of collaboration. 8 of them have an Spanish coordinator beneficiary, one is Dutch, one is Belgian and another one is Italian. Networking activities have been carried out with the contacts made in the irrigation Fairs, in the visits to the selected cities, with direct contacts with the manufacturers and attending the European Green Week in Brussels (2014 and 2015).
On the other hand, all the manufacturers, the cities and the LIFE projects registered were informed about the project progress via email and were invited to take part in the Seminar held on the 24th of November of 2015. In total 741 contacts were invited to the Seminar.
After having been invited to the Seminar, 7 of the LIFE Project were interested in having any kind of collaboration and one of them actually participated in the Seminar as a speaker. The main manufacturers in Spain attended the Seminar and several cities were represented.
Communication and dissemination actions (D1 to D8)
In Action D1 the Communication Plan was presented to the partners on the 2013/06/16 who agreed the timing and approved the plan. The plan has been updated yearly with the contributions of all partners. An After LIFE Communication Plan has been developed in 2015.
71 dissemination actions have been carried out and regular information has been also sent to the stakeholders on the results of the project. For this purpose, a list with 741 contacts was created.
In Action D2 the project website (www.irrigestlife.eu) was published on 2013/02/28 and is available in both languages, English and Spanish. It will be open and available until the 2020/12/31.
From October 2013, Google analytics was implemented and from then until 2015/12/31 the web had 6.488 visitors and 15.494 pages were viewed. 35% of the total visits were from Spain and 16.73% from the USA. 81% are new visitors.
At the same time a commercial Web for the industrial product GestDropper was created (www.gestdropper.com), which was extended and positioned once the pilot tests were finished. Both, the IRRIGESTLIFE project website and the LIFE programme will remain permanently linked to this website.
The Website is updated at least monthly through an integrated blog. A YouTube channel was created and 12 videos of the project have been published. The 2 promotional videos of the project are available in 3 languages (English, Spanish and Basque) and incorporate subtitles in any language.
In Action D3 the graphic identity of the project was designed and tools were created: logos, templates and notice boards.
In Action D4 the diffusion materials were created: a general leaflet, 17 notice boards installed in the irrigation areas, 2 brochures, 2 posters, 2 roll-up and 1 project sheet. Unlimited number of copies were edited under the partners request.
2 project videos in 3 languages (Spanish, English and Basque) and other 6 amateur videos were created which are uploaded on the project's YouTube channel. A QR code has been created on 2013/10/10.
A photographic report was hired to get an "image bank" of the project.
Two notebook/blocks with general information first (200 units in 2014) and with the results of the project (300 units in September 2015).
In Action D5 9 pieces of news have been published on the 2 main local press media. The project appeared on the radio 5 times. 9 pieces of news/press releases have been posted on the web of the Municipality of Vitoria-Gasteiz and 1 in the Local Agenda 21 of the city.
In collaboration with AMVISA, 3 newsletters were developed that were distributed along with the water invoice, reaching more than 100,000 homes and 20,000 companies in the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz with each newsletter.
3 articles were published in specialized media both, paper and digital and several pieces of news were published in 7 digital newsletters, magazines and specialized media.
There has been a presence of IRRIGESTLIFE in other webs and the project has been disseminated on RECI (Smart Cities Network in Spain) via videoconference (2014/06/02). Even when the project had not any profile in Facebook, 45 posts have been published in this social network thanks to the City Council profiles. In Action D5 the project’s progress has been presented through technical communications and/or posters in 5 events and share diffusion documents in other 9 fairs and conferences.
In 2015/11/24 the conference "Innovation in irrigation management" was organized to exchange experiences in the field of irrigation management within the IRRIGESTLIFE project’s framework. The conference joined together around 60 people, that received information on other irrigation related experiences. In the field visit scheduled for the afternoon session, around 40 participants could visit some of the GestDropper system’s elements already installed in the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz. The conference’s presentations can be downloaded from the corresponding page within the project’s website.
In Action D7 the Layman’s Report was produced in 2015/12/15 in 3 languages (Spanish. English and Basque) and in Action D8, the After LIFE Communication Plan was produced in 2105/12/20 in English and Spanish.
Coordination and Management Actions (E1 and E2)
The project started on 2012/09/01, as planned. The first kick-off meeting was held on 2012/09/27 in Perica and all the partners attended.
All along the Project the Consortium has been composed by the 5 partners.
In Action E1, to ensure the management and implementation of the project, the consortium was organised in two committees. A Technical Committee (TC), constituted on 2012/09/27 and an Administrative Committee (AC) were constituted on 2012/09/27. Both technical and administrative committees have been permanently in coordination to ensure a proper development of the project.
A financial course was developed on 2012/10/30 to consolidate the financial management methodology. From then on, the AC met on a half-year basis during the TC meetings, putting in common the updated project expenses and the most relevant aspects. Financial reports have been updated every 3 or 4 months and internal financial audits have been performed in situ once a year. 119 meetings have been held along the Project considering the committee meetings, the audit meetings and bilateral meetings developed on demand in order to present detailed technical progress of the reports. There have been many contacts by telephone and by email, which have not been registered.
The monitoring expert attended 4 of the coordination meetings.
In Action E2 a Quality Plan was presented on 2013/02/13 to define the guidelines and the working methodologies to be followed along the Project. This plan has been updated along the Project.
Project tasks have been planned through an online Project management tool called SMARTSHEET. Each partner updated on Smartsheet a half-year plan (actions, tasks, milestones and deliverables) and developed documents which were approved by the TC on the meetings.
Yearly an internal quality audit was carried out to each partner in their facilities. All the technical and financial documentation was audited in order to guarantee the correct alignment with the project objectives and forecasted outcomes and results.
The 2015/03/31 an amendment to the Grant Agreement was requested to the EC asking for changes on some of the cost categories and on the Project duration. This was approved on 2015/05/07, entering into force on 2015/05/28 after the signing of the Grant Agreements. As the result of that, the project finished three months later than scheduled initially, in 2105/12/31.
All the partnership agreements were signed in 2012/09/01 and were sent attached on the IR.