Review of Precision Irrigation Technologies and their Application


Despite the widespread promotion and adoption of precision agriculture in dry land cropping systems, the concept of irrigation as a component of precision agricultural systems has not been widely canvassed. Irrigation application is commonly viewed as a less than precise activity and the potential for precision irrigation is yet to be adequately evaluated. This project will review irrigation research, existing technologies and the use of precision irrigation. It will include an assessment of the role of current irrigation application technologies in precision irrigation, variable rate applications, adaptive control and the sensing and decision support requirements. Opportunities for adoption, future research and extension needs will also be identified.


The overall goal of the project is to provide guidance to the irrigation industry on the application of Precision Irrigation (PI) and associated technologies. Within that, the specific objectives of the project are to:

  • Review published and unpublished information on precision irrigation technologies including currently used technologies; emerging technologies; technologies adopted overseas (not in Australia)
  • Identify the opportunities, advantages, and limitations of the range of technologies that would be applicable to the implementation of precision irrigation
  • Identify relevance to industry including technology effectiveness, expertise required, industry understanding and perceptions, potential benefits, and priorities for R&D


The outcomes will depend on the results of the review and feedback through the course of the project.; The key outcome will be a direct and significant improvement in the knowledge and understanding of precision irrigation in the Australian irrigation industry. The specific outcomes will most likely include:

  • a clear direction for future research in precision irrigation
  • an indication of the opportunities and likely success of adapting current application systems to precision irrigation
  • a series of case studies that will provide an understanding of the factors that limit or promote innovation
  • an evaluation of the likely or potential social, economic and environmental benefits from precision irrigation


Precision irrigation is still in its infancy both in Australia and internationally. No cohesive frame work is available to guide research, development or adoption of precision irrigation and its associated sensing, control, and decision support technologies.



National Program for Sustainable Irrigation

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id: 2642 / created: 10 September, 2008 / last updated: 16 September, 2008