The backyard Internet of Things meets water conservation

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Cartman, David
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Master of Information Technology
Southern Institute of Technology (SIT)
Fielden, Kay
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
New Zealand
residential water consumption
water conservation
smart metering
Internet of Things (IoT)
Cartman, D. (2021). The backyard Internet of Things meets water conservation. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Information Technology). Southern Institute of Technology (SIT), New Zealand.
“Ko wai ahau I am water, I fall as rain on to the whenua – the land – to begin my journey from sky to sea. I bring life to everything I touch along the way. Plants, people, birds, and animals. Everything” Water care (n.d.). Water is a precious resource, yet irrigation in New Zealand often uses a “just-in-case” approach, irrigating whenever water is available, even when plant demand is low (Srinivasan, 2017). Water is a precious resource, yet households in Aotearoa use more water every year, even when population growth is considered. Between 2016 and 2020, New Zealand used 11% more water (Water New Zealand, 2020). This research project investigated how the IoT can empower home users to contribute to the much more significant environmental problem of water conservation and protection of New Zealand’s waterways and rivers. The research considers both the barriers to user adoption and the technology. A prototype solution was developed using information from the Internet, sensors, and a Raspberry Pi to ensure the right amount of water is applied to plants at the right time to ensure growth. Over a three-week experiment, the prototype Smart Watering System used 62% less water than a scheduled watering system and 73% less water than a gardener manually watering.This research answers the question, what factors contribute to the IoT's effective use to support Smart Watering Systems in New Zealand by considering the behavioural intention drivers of individuals.
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