This project aims to develop a real-time groundwater-level monitoring network in Nebraska to provide fast and reliable data that will support agricultural decision-makers and other groundwater users to better plan for, recognize, deal with, and document multiple-year droughts.

A framework for remote telemetry using smart sensors and wireless telecommunication technology is being designed and implemented to collect and analyze groundwater hydrologic information from over 50 sites around Nebraska. Observation wells will be primarily chosen for their ability to detect the onset, magnitude and recovery of hydrological drought. The architecture of the proposed framework consists of three main components: data acquisition unit, data transfer unit and data processing unit.

  • Data acquisition unit: consists of a traditional water monitoring transducer and an embedded system. The embedded system does preliminary signal processing and packs the hydrologic data collected by the transducer into a proper and secure format ready for remote transmission.
  • Data transfer unit: consists of a satellite transceiver module or an cellular communication module, both of which will guarantees the reliable telecommunication with minimum expense. Both data acquisition unit and data transfer unit are powered by a solar panel and battery. All the hydrologic data will be collected hourly and transmitted daily to a central base station. Adjustments in the frequency of measurements and reporting can be made if a site is experiencing significant changes in water level or if future research investigations require more frequent measurements.
  • Data processing unit: with a friendly Graphical interface, is located at the base station to analysis and archive the real-time data.
Network Architecture

Information produced through this network could be utilized to address the effects of multiple-year drought in Nebraska and increase the economic and production stability of agricultural producers. The network also can be easily adapted to other fields of environmental monitoring.