Drip Irrigation Linked to Weather Stations for Efficient Water Management


Burkina Faso’s agriculture is essentially extensive, and is
largely dominated by pluvial cultivation of traditional
cereal crops with an average annual area of around 4 million
hectares. Unfortunately, this agriculture is subject to
numerous constraints, the most important of which is
climate change, manifested by rainfall that features strong
inter-annual, intra-annual and spatio-temporal irregularities.
Faced with the effects of climate change, irrigation is
a solution that enables the resilience of populations to be
strengthened. With reduced water resources in arid and
semi-arid regions, many techniques and methods such as
drip irrigation technology and hydro-meteorological stations
represent major innovations in systems for agricultural
production and increasing yields. The performance of
these two technologies in combination within agriculture
was analysed at three sites in Burkina Faso.


The experiments and tests conducted at the three sites are
part of the Info4Dourou 2.0 project in collaboration with
the General Directorate of Hydro-Agricultural Facilities.
On the control plots, irrigation was initiated following
farmers’ practices. On the experimental plot, irrigation
was triggered by an audio signal or a message from the
hydro-meteorological station. Several parameters were
used to evaluate the water status of a plant.
At the Fada site, the experimental plots showed a 33%
overconsumption of water compared to the control plots,
but this overconsumption was compensated for by 47%
overproduction. At the AMIFOB site (Ouagadougou),
the experimental plot recorded a water saving of 16.44%
and a slight production deficit of 1.63% compared to the
control plot. Harvesting conditions do not guarantee a
good degree of precision, so this deficit is negligible.
Several simulations have been carried out for the least
favourable cases, highlighting the water savings and the
increase in production, as well as the irrigation efficiency.

Figure that shows water productivity by crop.
Figure 1: Water productivity by crop.


The model developed in this study allows us to encourage
interest in rational management and water productivity
against the background of the resource’s scarcity. The results
from the experiments allowed us to measure the impact
of the hydrometeorological information within the
agricultural production process.

Lesson learned 

This project represents a step towards strengthening rural
populations’ resilience to climate variability. However, it
must be continued in order to arrive at a model that could
be applicable in the Sahel region. Experiments must be
scaled up in order to consolidate the results, taking aspects
such as the fertility of the soil and cultivation techniques
into account. It is therefore necessary to seek funding for
such studies.