Use Case

WaterBit and Clos de la Tech Winery

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TJ's "Living Lab" Silicon Valley entrepreneur, TJ Rodgers, is WaterBit's Chairman. He has created a Living Lab at his Clos de la Tech winery in Woodside, California, where he tests the latest irrigation technologies by measuring their impact on yield, water usage and wine quality. At WaterBit, we pore over the experimental details to help shape our Autonomous Irrigation Solution (AIS) product roadmap. We invite you to visit our San Jose headquarters to see the pro duc tion version of our AIS in action. Background TJ Rodgers founded Cypress Semiconductor in 1982 and led the organization for 34 years. Cypress Semiconductor pushed the envelope in developing and bringing to market cutting edge silicon chip solutions like the Programmable System on a Chip (PSoC), and even whole new companies like solar industry leader SunPower, which was a Cypress project until it was spun out as a separate company. TJ also owns three vineyards and has been making wine for over 20 years under the Clos de la Tech brand. His passion for applying technology to winemaking led to his investment in WaterBit, whose automated irrigation solution is deployed in TJ's vineyards. TJ has been experimenting with automated irrigation technologies to increase crop quality while simultaneously reducing water use. TJ's experiments have helped WaterBit improve its products and are shaping our AIS product roadmap. Let's take a look at the results of some of his experiments. The Quest to Cost-Effectively Measure Water at a Micro-Level (2016) TJ is a member of the Board of Advisors of the UC Davis School of Viticulture and Enology. He worked with Department Head, Dr. David Block, in a quest to invent a reliable, cost-effective method to directly measure the water needs of vineyards down to the single vine and deliver the right amount of water at the right time to each vine. He initially focused on getting baseline data by measuring Leaf Water Potential (LWP), a direct vine measurement of water need, on vines in small, quarter-acre vineyard blocks. LWP measurement is very labor intensive and, unfortunately, after 10 years of searching, he has been unable to find a good, continuous, low cost automatic LWP sensor. The problem is that the sensor needs to be inserted into the xylem (water-carrying tissue of the vine), causing a wound that changes measurements over time. So, TJ turned to soil moisture sensors as a way to accurately measure soil volumetric water content (VWC) in the vine rootzone to further his goal of developing and deploying automated watering. In 2016, the VWC sensors available on the market did accurately measure soil VWC, but were too expensive to deploy en masse in many small vineyard blocks, so TJ launched a project to create a low-cost, VWC sensor—this was the spark that launched WaterBit. TJ also worked with the WaterBit team to develop a highly reliable, compact, solar-powered electronic system (no batteries!) that paired with a VWC probe. The purpose of this system was to measure soil VWC at various depths and send this data to the cloud, where it could be analyzed and used to control irrigation. This device has evolved into what is now the WaterBit Carbon TM , a cost-effective irrigation controller with thousands of units in the field. TJ has used a VWC-based watering solution in his own winegrape production for three years. This solution waters his vineyard automatically, block by block, by turning on the block watering valves when the VWC of the soil in a block falls to a pre defined "trigger level." As illustrated in the next graph, the solution works like a thermostat, which heats whenever a room cools off. Figure 1. Autonomous Irrigation Solution (AIS) Watering. The black curve shows percent soil moisture (VWC) at a depth of 2". In this case, a watering is triggered whenever VWC drops to the programmed 39% trigger level. Note these short waterings barely penetrate to the 10" VWC (red) and do not reach the 14"-22" VWC probes. This shows that water loss from percolation through the root zone has been eliminated. Clos de la Tech Clos de la Tech's winery in Woodside, California makes premium Pinot Noir wines using state-of-the-art WaterBit technology T E C H N O T E 1 | F E B 2 0 2 0

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