Finding water efficiencies in agriculture

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Barwon Water – Irrewarra Farm Care Trial

Taggle is working with Barwon Water and the Irrewarra Farm Care group to trial Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) technology to better manage the use of potable water in agriculture.

Located a few kilometres north-east of Colac in Victoria, farmers in the Irrewarra area were looking for ways to implement efficient water systems, save money and reduce the pressure on drinking water resources.

Agricultural use accounts for 30% of annual potable water usage in the Colac supply system. Up to 15% of that water is lost through leaks on the farm beyond the water meter. Such leakages are common due to the combination of pressurised water, small diameter polypipe networks and exposure to external factors like stock, frost, soil movement, stones, roots and UV light from the sun.

The original trial consisted of a single Taggle receiver that receives hourly data from 75 transmitters fitted to farm water meters. It involved 25 farmers, who tracked their farm’s water usage on an hourly basis by logging into a Taggle supplied secure website.

The data helped the group identify over 60 water leaks ranging from 5 litres/hour to over 60 litres/minute which led to significant water bill savings. The Taggle meter reading network helped one local farmer (quoted in the local newspaper, Colac Herald) save between 10 and 15 million litres of water.

Due to the success of the trial, farmers in a neighbouring district requested an additional receiver and more tags so more farms could monitor their water usage, with now over 65 farms connected to the system.

Recently Barwon Water introduced an opt-in SMS alert system to notify busy farmers of an irregularity in their water usage from data provided by the Taggle network.

Read more here on the Barwon Water website.

 

Bruce Bilney from Barwon Water:   “The Taggle system provided valuable information that we were able to use to identify when water was in demand by stock and adjust our water management accordingly, making sure there was enough water in quantity and flow to cover peak times. Previously the system was run to cope with peak usage 24/7 when, in fact, it was only needed for 2-6 hours on certain high demand days. That is, on hot weather days, not 365 days of the year. This resulted in water savings as the system did not need to be constantly pressurised and, when there was a failure, it was not boosted by being pressurised. It also led to power savings through not having to run the pump around the clock.”

 

Solution: Automatic Meter Reading and data acquisition

Area covered: 400 km2

Receivers: 1

Devices connected: 200

Installation: July 2013

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