Agriculture accounts for, on average, 70 percent of global freshwater withdrawals. Sustainable water management plays a pivotal role in increasing water-use efficiency and ensuring food and nutrition security. Solar pumps have become an economically, technically, and environmentally viable alternative to conventional pumping systems. Compared to conventional energy systems, however, the use of solar energy has specific characteristics related to the system efficiency, financial viability and water-use which must be considered when planning a solar-powered irrigation system (SPIS). Concerns about water requirements and management should be taken into consideration for sustainable groundwater extraction before planning an irrigation system of any kind.
To address these challenges and provide hands-on guidance on the design and planning of the Solar Powered Irrigation Systems (SPIS), WE4F’s predecessor program, Powering Agriculture, developed a Toolbox on SPIS. Since 2015, the Toolbox has grown from a simple Excel-based tool to a comprehensive learning experience available in English, French, Spanish, and Arabic.
In order to create an even more user-friendly experience, WE4F has launched an accompanying “SPIS” smartphone app which supports the design, budgeting and installation of solar-powered irrigation systems on the go. The new smartphone app supports users as they plan and optimize the use of solar pumps while helping to address groundwater overuse risks. To have a seamless experience even in the field, users can also save data in the app and access it without an internet connection. The app supports advisors and farmers in quickly accessing comprehensive information and supporting tools in a mobile, accessible, and user-friendly way.