Abstract: In southern EU Member States, ‘sustainable’ water management in agriculture is a major issue and there is an increasing need to develop and test appropriate ‘decision support systems’ (DSS) to further support the on-farm decision process. The application of new technologies to the control and automation of irrigation is becoming a very relevant issue in the last decade, due to a number of factors (McCarthy et al., 2011; Romero et al., 2012; Zapata et al., 2012). The ‘HydroTech’ project is developed in the Apulia Region (Italy) by a temporary association of local business companies (Sysman, DyrectaLab) and research institutions (IAM-B, ISPA-CNR), with the aim to further develop an integrated decision support system (HT-DSS) and to bring available modern technologies at the level of farm application. Among other objectives, the project aims to: i) test the applicability of HT-DSS at farm level, in relation to its effectiveness and reliability, fast and simply information transfer; ii) design ‘simple and practical’ user-friendly applications, by considering also the end-user feedbacks; iii) test the plugand-play on-field devices interconnected through a cloud network. A general description of the software and hardware architecture of the HT-DSS is here reported, while in a companion paper (Todorovic et al., 2013, this issue) the main algorithms and the on-going experimental activity at farm level are described.
Keywords: irrigation, decision support system, water management, wireless communication, automated control