Engagement

The Virtual Irrigation Academy (VIA) had its beginnings in Australia in 2016 and has quickly spread to many countries. The VIA has developed a suite of simple tools that measure water, nitrate and salt. These tools give their output as colours, thus creating a new language so farmers, scientists and managers of water resources can share their learning.

How to engage with the VIA

We are running a beta test where we invite irrigators working at large or small-scale to join the VIA.

The VIA operates at two levels; entry and advanced.

Entry level

The entry-level tools are designed to be simple and affordable and are read manually.

They provide irrigators with the information required to make the decision: Should I irrigate tomorrow?

The Chameleon Card is a credit card sized reader that measures individual Chameleon Soil Water Sensors and displays the moisture level using a colour LED.

The Wetting Front Detector combined with Nitrate Test-Strips and the Chameleon EC meter allows nitrate and salt to be monitored.

Advanced level

The advanced-level tools provide the same decision making information to farmers in the field regarding when to irrigate. In addition, they also capture this data for wider benefits.

A set of three Chameleon Soil Water Sensors (a sensor array) are monitored using the Chameleon Wi-Fi Reader. The data is displayed on the reader by three LEDs and then stored in the reader for later uploading by Wi-Fi to the VIA platform. The reader can be mounted for permanent monitoring or carried to the field by the farmer.

Salt and Nitrate is manually measured entered into the VIA platform.

This data combines to create colour visualisations for the entire season, to help irrigators better understand how to manage their irrigation.

The VIA platform keeps track of each crop grown, the management of water and solutes and how this relates to crop yield. In this way, an irrigation management record is build up over time, which allows for continuous improvement.

When working with many farmers on an irrigation scheme, or many farmers growing the same crop, the VIA team can provide higher order analytics to look at performance and opportunities for improvement at larger scales.

Read more about the tools.

Buying the tools

The entry levels tools are available to anyone who wants to be part of the VIA beta test program.

We have two regionally based online shops, one in Pretoria (South Africa) and one in Canberra (Australia):

Please visit our online shops to purchase:

These products do not need ongoing support from the VIA team.

The advanced-level tools (Chameleon Wi-Fi Reader and Chameleon Sensor Arrays) require support on the VIA platform and are available only after contacting the VIA team at Contact Us

These advanced tools are ideal for researchers, governments and NGO’s implementing large-scale projects where group learning, record keeping and data analytics are fundamental to the project.