WaterBit : ‘the internet of plants’

WaterBit was founded on the premise of creating ‘the internet of plants’. Plants, whether small surface plants with shallow roots, old growth vineyards, or vast swaths of avocado trees, all need water, but the amount of water they use and where in the soil they pull it from have largely been guesswork.

WaterBit has built a water-saving solution that proposes to use the power of sensors and connectivity to put an intelligent crop watering solution into the hands of farmers.

It does this with a complex array of sensors and solar-powered communication hubs that give farmers unprecedented insights into crop behavior across the entire farm, driving savings of water of up to 40% while maintaining or increasing overall crop yield.

To make it easier to get the information from the farm to the internet, the team used the standard Internet Protocol packet design to ensure they could flow directly to the internet without having to be translated.

The team at WaterBit tied in their unique system of sensors that measure the Volumetric Water Content (VWC) of the soil at different depths 6 times every 15 minutes, which are then grouped together into ‘microblocks’.

These sensors were specifically designed not to interfere with farming machinery and to send the resulting data through the radio frequency network up to the internet on a set frequency.

WaterBit uses latching water valves that take advantage of hydrostatic pressure to open the valve, making them well-suited for an environment where solenoids just can’t handle the task of opening agricultural water valves.

Water is typically metered out based on fixed quantity per plant or by letting water run down furrows, so giving farmers what essentially amounts to X-ray vision into the soil beneath their crops, vineyards, and orchards is a look into a world previously unseen.

Customers out in the real world like Devine Organics, doubled the vegetable yield of its fields while at the same time saved water by 6% since installing the WaterBit system. Even this small 6% water savings translates to a mind-boggling 750,000 gallons of water.

The typical cost of WaterBit for vineyards is $2500 per acre to deploy, plus $1000 per year to maintain the system. For row crops, the cost is about the same, but for 10 acres worth.