SWAMP: Smart Water Management Platform
Overview and Security Challenges
Carlos Kamienski1, João Henrique Kleinschmidt1, Juha-Pekka Soininen2, Kari.Kolehmainen2,
Luca Roffia3, Marcos Visoli4, Rodrigo Filev Maia5, Stenio Fernandes6
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Juha-Pekka.Soininen@vtt.fi, Kari.Kolehmainen@vtt.fi,
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
1Federal University of the ABC, Santo André/Brazil
2VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Oulu/Finland
3University of Bologna, Bologna/Italy
4Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA), Campinas/Brazil
5Centro Universitário da FEI, São Bernardo do Campo/Brazil
6Federal University of Pernambuco, Recife/Brazil
Abstract — The intensive use of technology in precision
irrigation for agriculture is getting momentum in order to
optimize the use of water, reduce the energy consumption and
improve the quality of crops. Internet of Things (IoT) and other
technologies are the natural choices for smart water management
applications, and the SWAMP project is expected to prove the
appropriateness of IoT in real settings with the deployment of on-
site pilots. At the same time, the more intense the use of
technology is, agriculture turns new security risks, which may
affect both crop development and the commodities market. A
security breach may irreversibly compromise a crop and data
eavesdropping may compromise price and contracts exposing
sensitive data such crop quality, development or management.
This paper discusses security challenges and technologies for the
application of IoT in agriculture and indicates that one of the
most relevant challenges to be handled in SWAMP project is
dealing with the multitude of behaviors from IoT application and
what would be considered as normal and what would be
considered as a threat.
Keywords - Internet of Things, Smart Water Management,
Food security calls for the intensive use of irrigation in
agriculture at the same time that water is increasingly
becoming a precious and scarce asset for mankind. Irrigation
for agriculture is the most significant consumer of freshwater in
the world, amounting to 70% of freshwater . In an attempt to
avoid loss of productivity by under-irrigation, farmers feed
more water than is needed and as a result not only productivity
is challenged but also water and energy is wasted. The Internet
of Things (IoT)  and other related technologies can be used
for that purpose, but it faces several challenges such as the lack
of easy-to-use software tools and platforms, communication
constraints in rural areas and sensor integration issues. Such
technological features in agriculture also bring severe security
risks, since some machines have autonomous systems and data
generated by IoT devices could expose critical aspects of the
production or even they may be manipulated to support wrong
conclusions about crop development.
The SWAMP1 project develops IoT based methods and
approaches for smart water management in precision irrigation
domain and to pilot the approaches in four places, two pilots in
Europe (Italy and Spain) and two pilots in Brazil. The same
underlying SWAMP platform can be customized to different
pilots considering different countries, climate, soil, and crops.
The SWAMP architecture may be implemented in a range of
deployment configurations involving the use of smart
algorithms and analytics in the cloud, fog-based smart
decisions located on the farm premises and possibly mobile fog
nodes acting in the field (e.g., drones or in the central pivot
The four SWAMP pilots are based on the same technical
solutions, but they are located in different regions, deal with
different crops and have different primary goals.
1. CBEC Pilot (Bologna/Italy): the main objective of the
Consorzio di Bonifica Emilia Centrale (CBEC) pilot is
optimizing water distribution to the farms.
2. Intercrop Pilot (Cartagena/Spain): Intercrop Iberica
addresses several challenges since production is in a dry
area, and a considerable amount of water comes from a
desalination plant. The primary goal for Intercrop is using
water more rationally.
3. Guaspari Pilot (Espírito Santo do Pinhal / Brazil): The
Guaspari Winery transfers the wine grape harvesting to the
winter season (June-August) using irrigation techniques.
The main goal for Guaspari is improving wine quality
4. MATOPIBA Pilot (Barreiras/Brazil): The Rio das Pedras
Farm is located in the MATOPIBA region, and irrigation is
mostly performed by center pivots with an average size of
100 ha. This main pilot goal is to implement and evaluate a
smart irrigation system based on Variable Rate Irrigation
(VRI) for center pivots in soybean production and save
energy used in irrigation.
II. IOT IN PRECISION IRRIGATION FOR AGRICULTURE
The SWAMP project is being built upon existing research
such as FIWARE that is EU-funded IoT solution library used
for smart applications  and precision irrigation .
SWAMP shares several features with other precision irrigation
initiatives such as FIGARO project  that aims at increasing
water productivity and improving irrigation practices through
a cost-effective precision irrigation management platform not
directly involving IoT. SWAMP intends to use IoT combined
with cloud-based services and big data analytics and conduct
experiments in real settings. Brewster et al. discuss the
deployment of large-scale pilots for IoT in agriculture and
describe technologies that might be present in some agrifood
domains . Also, the European project IoF2020 aims at
fostering the adoption of IoT in large-scale pilots in the
farming and food domain2.
III. SECURITY CHALLENGES FOR IOT IN AGRICULTURE
In general, IoT has many security requirements, such as data
privacy, confidentiality and integrity, authentication,
authorization and accounting, and availability of services .
The security mechanisms have to be energy efficient, since
many IoT devices are limited in power, processing, and
memory resources. There is no unified vision on security in the
IoT , but many security solutions are being proposed and
may be used in smart agriculture and irrigation.
Water is a critical resource and our lives depend on it. In
smart agriculture irrigation, many problems may arise. An
attacker may take control of the system and a whole crop
would be decimated, due to lack or excess of irrigation. A DoS
(Denial of Service) attack in the sensors, irrigation actuators
(e.g., central pivot) or in the distribution system may affect the
availability of the system. Changes in the values of some
sensors are also a threat that may cause systems or decision
makers to take wrong actions and compromise months of
efforts and production goals. If an attacker takes control of the
actuators (e.g., pumps or central pivot), the irrigation and water
distribution is compromised, wrongly irrigating some crop.
Using eavesdropping, intruders may have access to private data
about the farm and crop yield information and even manipulate
the commodity markets, which is even a more extensive threat.
Autonomous vehicles, such as drones and tractors, used for
collecting images and crop monitoring, must also be secured.
An unauthorized node in the network (sensor node or drone)
may send false information about the crop. A drone or sensor
node performing the Sybil attack could send fake images and
false measurements, leading to the incorrect interpretation of
the actual soil conditions, incorrect calculation of the NDVI
(Normalized Difference Vegetation Index), and the like.
The SWAMP architecture must deal with the control of
data by the farmers or producers, ensuring that each owner
controls their data and decides the access control to the data
and the services. The platform must provide efficient
authentication, authorization and access control mechanisms.
The distribution of water between users is very sensitive issue
also addressed by SWAMP. Trust, privacy and security must
be the basis of information exchange. Data anonymization is
another helpful technique for data governance and even some
regulation and legal frameworks for agriculture are being
discussed by governments. The wireless and wired
transmissions must use existing security features of the
underlying technology and existing security protocols. There
are also many innovative proposals in the literature for security
solution in various domains of IoT , including
6LoWPAN networks. SDN (Software Defined Networking)
architecture for IoT allows administrators to have a centralized
view of the IoT system  and to implement security services.
A disruptive technology in security is blockchain, which will
have great importance in the security of IoT . One possible
application is in the supply chain and lifecycle of an IoT
device. For instance, it is possible to track all the attributes,
relationships and events related to a device. The use of smart
contracts is also a promising mechanism to be used in new
methods for authentication, authorization, and privacy of IoT
One of the most relevant security challenges for IoT in
agriculture is not only the integration of technologies but also
to understand and correlate the expected sequence of events
and behavior of agriculture applications. SWAMP has a
multitude of characteristics to be evaluated and a baseline must
be created to promote security effectiveness. Regardless of the
data acquisition rate, or the number of installed sensors, the
system will probably have a partial view of the environment.
As a consequence, applications may create a partial profile of
the crop and related environment, which does not necessarily
correspond to that crop. Therefore, inadvertent use of a given
profile may cause harm to a crop, and security mechanisms
should take this into account when producing their results.
SWAMP intends to use IoT to improve the use of water
resources in heterogeneous pilots, each one with its own
characteristics and challenges. The adoption of an open-source
platform as FIWARE as the basis of SWAMP platform
development has advantages but the use of IoT in agriculture
also brings several security challenges, since a multitude of
threats may cause severe and irreversible damages to the crop.
In order to protect IoT devices and cloud systems, the
SWAMP platform should not only deal with device security,
data confidentiality and authentication mechanisms, but also
with mechanisms to avoid fake data. The latter may result in
misunderstandings about crops or may allow eavesdropping
that may cause manipulation of commodity markets.
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