Irrigators are seeing the benefits of improved technology that is not only giving them better access to water, it’s increasing productivity on farm.
During the past 15 years Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) has rolled out an automated system, with the use of the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) technology.
The communication network, which operates on various radio frequencies, is used to communicate with infrastructure including meters, regulators and monitoring sites enabling GMW and its customers to view live data on water delivery.
It was initially used for data collection and control of a small number of strategic regulating sites before a fully automated system was trialled on a Central Goulburn channel. Now SCADA technologies and automation are rolled out across the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District (GMID) through the Connections Project.
GMW’s SCADA network allows customers with automated outlets to adjust their water flow and they see the benefits at the farm gate within minutes. Previously it could take days for the water flow adjustment, with a bailiff required to go along the channel and manually open gates.
GMW Head of Customer Service and Operations Daniel Irwin said customer service was a major benefit of the automation.
“Customers don’t even have to call us,” Mr Irwin said.
“If they want to change the water that is delivered to their property, they can adjust it themselves.”
Mr Irwin said the automation allowed for a more accurate water reading, which in turn created water savings.
“Previously when a farmer called we would have to fill a channel for the farmer to access,” she said.