Smart Irrigation Definition, Principle and Importance Explained

Smart irrigation is the act and process of using weather and soil moisture data to control the irrigation process. This article discusses smart irrigation definition, principle, purpose and importance, as outlined below;



-Smart Irrigation Definition: 6 Ways to Define Smart Irrigation

-Mechanism and Principle of Smart Irrigation

-Purpose of Smart Irrigation

-Importance of Smart Irrigation

-Smart Irrigation Controller





Smart Irrigation Definition: 6 Ways to Define Smart Irrigation

Smart irrigation is a type of irrigation system that uses data compilation and analysis by algorithms to optimize the effectiveness of the water distribution process [4].

While the above provides a basic overview of the meaning of smart irrigation, it could be considered lacking in detail with regards to the actual function of smart irrigation systems. Below is an alternative smart irrigation definition that attempts to provide such detail;

Smart irrigation is the act and process of performing physicochemical and climatic data collection and analysis while simultaneously supplying irrigation water to soil, in such a manner that synchronizes both functions and boosts energy efficiency, water conservation and areal coverage [3].

Based on the above, it can be assumed that smart irrigation is a modernized technique of sustainable irrigation. Aside the listed functions, energy conservation is also achievable through smart irrigation, as are improved soil health and crop growth; which are major objectives of sustainable agriculture.

Understanding the function of smart irrigation can be helped through clarification of the mechanism involved. This factor is mentioned in the smart irrigation definition below;

Smart irrigation is an optimized type of irrigation that utilizes data-based automation, whereby a smart irrigation controller is operated by an algorithm that analyzes soil moisture and other environmental criteria to increase precision and sustainability [1].

Another noteworthy aspect of smart irrigation is its link to Internet of Things (IoT) technology. The following smart irrigation definition explores this link;

Smart irrigation is an artificial intelligence-driven technology that uses IoT applications to collect and share data between sensors and controllers, and to automate the irrigation process [2].

Smart Irrigation Definition: IoT as a Technological Basis for Smart Irrigation (Credit: U.S. Government Accountability Office 2019)
Smart Irrigation Definition: IoT as a Technological Basis for Smart Irrigation (Credit: U.S. Government Accountability Office 2019)


The artificial intelligence aspect of smart irrigation implies that it plays an immensely important and multidimensional role in sustainable development; which includes facilitating the growth of innovative technologies.

IoT and A.I functions in smart irrigation are similar in concept to their functions in smart house development and other automated technological concepts.

Automation is itself a very important aspect of smart irrigation systems. Some types of smart irrigation systems are mentioned in the smart irrigation definition below;

Smart irrigation is an automated system of irrigation that works based on geographic and physicochemical data, and is of various types like soil-moisture-based, weather-based, plant-based, large-scale, and small-scale categories.

Lastly, the smart irrigation definition is given based on the purpose and importance of the concept;

Smart irrigation is an innovative type of irrigation that works using sensors and controllers; which is used to optimize plant management, and whose importance includes water conservation, energy efficiency optimization and performance improvement.




Mechanism and Principle of Smart Irrigation

Smart irrigation works based on a mechanism involving data collection, analysis, actuation and monitoring. The technology that is used in smart irrigation is artificial intelligence.

Below is a brief description of the aspects of the mechanism and principle of smart irrigation;



1). Data Collection (as part of the Principle of Smart Irrigation)

Data collection is the first and arguably most essential, step in smart irrigation.

This step involves reconnaissance of environmental conditions by sensory systems, which may measure variables like weather and soil moisture.

Collection of these data helps to optimize the irrigation process by tailoring it to the on-site conditions.



2). Data Analysis

Data analysis is the processing of data that has been collected by sensors, to extract useful information about the site on which irrigation is to be conducted.

Through data analysis, the raw data collected is transformed to precise values of measurements made.



3). System Actuation (as part of the Principle of Smart Irrigation)

Actuation is the initiation of irrigation by actuators, which send orders to the components in control of water discharge (like nozzles).

Actuators help to automate the smart irrigation process by making direct use of information derived by the system. In order for this to be possible, the actuator is linked to an algorithmic component that converts information in the system into executable commands.



4). Monitoring

Monitoring refers simply to the subsequent regulation and optimization of operation of the smart irrigation system through continuous data collection and analysis.

It is essential for evaluating the effects of irrigation on the soil, in order to further adjust the approach to achieve better results.




Purpose of Smart Irrigation

The purpose of smart irrigation is to mitigate negative environmental impacts of unsustainable irrigation like water resource depletion, soil degradation, fertility loss and erosion; by taking into account essential details of the site which are used to regulate the irrigation process.




Importance of Smart Irrigation

Smart irrigation is important because of its environmental, social and environmental sustainability.


The importance of smart irrigation is outlined below;


1). Time saving

2). Water conservation

3). Efficiency improvement

4). Optimized agricultural performance

5). Soil conservation

6). Facilitation of technological advancement




Smart Irrigation Controller

Smart irrigation controller refers to the assemblage of actuator(s) and other components whose function is to execute commands derived from analysis of weather and soil moisture data.

The smart irrigation controller may be connected to a personal sensory system. Otherwise, it may be internet-enabled in order to access real-time weather data.

Effectiveness of any smart irrigation procedure depends on the precision of the data compilation-and-analysis process, and the performance of the actuator system.





Smart irrigation is an automated method of irrigation that is optimized through data collection, analysis and actuation.


The principle of smart irrigation (alternately called the mechanism of smart irrigation) comprises of;


1. Data Collection

2. Data Analysis

3. System Actuation

4. Monitoring


The purpose of smart irrigation is to optimize the irrigation process through automation and data utilization, in order to achieve better results while reducing the rate consumption of water and energy resources.


The importance of smart irrigation includes; time saving, water conservation, efficiency improvement, optimized agricultural performance, soil conservation, and facilitation of technological advancement.


Smart irrigation controller is the part of a smart irrigation system that is responsible for signaling or executing the water discharge process.





1). Favour, A.; Misra, S.; Maskeliunas, R.; Damaševičius, R.; Kazanavicius, E. (2019). “Smart irrigation system for environmental sustainability in Africa: An Internet of Everything (IoE) approach.” Mathematical biosciences and engineering: MBE 16(5):5490-5503. Available at: (Accessed 23 December 2022).

2). Garcia, L.; Parra, L.; Jimenez, J. M.; Lloret, J.; Lorenz, P. (2020). “IoT-Based Smart Irrigation Systems: An Overview on the Recent Trends on Sensors and IoT Systems for Irrigation in Precision Agriculture.” Sensors 2020, 20(4), 1042. Available at: (Accessed 23 December 2022).

3). Liao, R.; Zhang, S.; Xin, Z.; Wang, M.; Wu, H.; Zhangzhong, L. (2020). “Development of smart irrigation systems based on real-time soil moisture data in a greenhouse: Proof of concept.” Agricultural Water Management 245:106632. Available at: (Accessed 23 December 2022).

4). Nandanwar, H.; Chauhan, A.; Pahl, D.; Meena, H. (2020). “A Survey of Application of ML and Data Mining Techniques for Smart Irrigation System.” 2020 Second International Conference on Inventive Research in Computing Applications (ICIRCA). Available at: (Accessed 23 December 2022).

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