Smart water metering technology will improve farming in Australia


David Pezzaniti,
Senior Research
Adelaide, South Australia — (METERING.COM) — March 22, 2007 – The University of South Australia, a core partner in the Cooperative Research Centre for Irrigation Futures (CRC IF) has received funding from the federal government’s National Water Commission to develop smart water metering technology that has the potential to improve irrigation and on-farm efficiency.

Knowing the amount of water being used and where it is used are important elements associated with practicing efficient irrigation, according to UniSA’s senior research engineer David Pezzaniti from the South Australian Water Sciences and Systems Centre, who is leading the project.

“Current farm irrigation schemes often consist of complex hydraulic delivery network systems and obtaining useful information on detailed water use can be technically difficult and expensive,” Pezzaniti said. “Our smart technology can be coupled with a meter to measure water use and provide information that can lead to improved irrigation practice and efficiency.

“With the information from the smart metering technology, we have been able to demonstrate where improved irrigation efficiency can be achieved on a farm in field trials conducted on citrus and avocado crops and vineyards in Renmark, South Australia and also on irrigated urban open space turf in Adelaide.

“In one trial, the technology demonstrated that a potential saving of 30 per cent or 100 ML annually could be achieved on one farm alone.”

Using the CRC for Irrigation Future’s partners, this new approach is also being tested in Queensland. “By this work being done in the CRC we can greatly amplify the potential water savings. Suddenly a good South Australian idea is being spread nationally through the CRC’s network,” Chief Executive Officer of the CRC IF, Ian Atkinson said.

Designed to be used where irrigation is managed manually or with simple controllers, the smart tool is intended to be a simple technology for use at the farm enterprise level, but it also has potential benefits for irrigation water suppliers and urban open space irrigators.

“The funding will enable us to further develop and extend the tool’s smart capabilities, and identify the factors that will encourage uptake of the technology by irrigators,” Pezzaniti said.