Until recently, irrigation of vineyards in France was forbidden or strictly controlled, however, climate change has made this unsustainable and led to vineyards in southern France being allowed to be irrigated.
Irrigation water is supplied by local water associations through a network of pressurized pipelines designed in the 1960s and the farmer then manually connects to the system as required, an outdated process. The Tethys system designed by Mottech for the French wine market automates the process of switching water on via an app on the farmer’s phone and, as importantly, does so through allocation of a specific time slot when the water will be available. This is a critical and unique feature as the water associations are unable to meet demand of thousands of vineyards trying to access water simultaneously. This way the water associations can manage demand and the vineyards can digitally order the water they need at a certain time and only pay for what they use.
The response to the launch of the new Tethys system has been excellent. Since March 2020, Mottech, and its local partner, AQUADOC, has now provided the system to four water associations who together provide irrigation water for thousands of vineyards of which 200 have already become customers. Currently, the system is covering 4,000 hectares (40 square kilometers) and it is estimated that there is potential demand for 200,000 hectares in the short to medium term.