WATERGOLF: Wireless distributed intelligent system for irrigation optimisation and early turf disease prevention and treatment on golf courses

Recreational water use is a very small but growing percentage of total water use and is mostly tied to reservoirs. If a reservoir has a water level higher than designated for consumption, then the excess water could be categorized as recreational usage. A report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) revealed that Europe has so far concentrated on increasing the supply of water rather than exploring ways to limit its demand. Golf courses are often targeted as using excessive amounts of water, especially in drier regions and some governments have labelled golf course usage as agricultural in order to deflect environmentalists’ charges of wasting water.

 The objective of the WATERGOLF project is to develop a system based on a wireless artificial intelligence that can provide support to the irrigation processes on golf courses, thus resulting in a predicted saving of approximately one third of their annual water usage.

 The system will integrate both underground sensors, capable of measuring underground humidity, underground salinity, underground temperature, soil Ph and nitrate and surface sensors measuring visible colour, wind speed and direction. It will also include a number of ambient sensing at different zones.

 All the measurements will be transmitted by means of a low consumption battery powered wireless ZigBee technology with specific antenna design. An Artificial Intelligence driven software – using the sensor measurement information and other inputs such as 3D Golf course mapping, drainage, compacting soil degrees, weather forecast, etc. – will suggest the parameters for irrigation in different areas of the course as well as informing the user of any existing or potentialy looming turf diseases along with possible treatments if required.

 The WATERGOLF project has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement no. 315054. For more information, please visit www.watergolf-project.com