Power and Water have held a ‘Top End First’ specialist training course to upskill the irrigation industry in Darwin, as part of their Living Water Smart initiative.

The main focus of the course was best practice in water efficient irrigation, specific to local conditions. Topics included irrigation design, scheduling, maintenance and understanding soil types.

Living Water Smart project manager, Mark Wiltshire, said that irrigation specialists in the Darwin region were already proactive in water efficiency, however almost 200 Water Efficiency Consultations revealed that further support is needed to help rectify overwatering, incorrect or inappropriate watering schedules and designs.

“We invited the irrigation industry to increase their awareness of best practice methods to help rectify some of the irrigation issues that are common in the Darwin region.

“The 25 participants in the training course included those who work in both the commercial and public sectors, such as nursery employees, landscape gardeners and teachers in horticulture as well as Council operations staff who manage large public garden spaces such as parks, ovals, road verges and median strips.

“During a field trip to the Botanic Gardens, participants experienced first-hand how to measure the rate of water applied in a large irrigation system as well as improving soil types.

“As result of the training course, we have a number of new water efficiency champions who are really excited about what they’ve learned and how it can be applied,” Mr Wiltshire said.

Jose Soares, a horticulture team member at the Botanic Gardens said, “We measured the water pressure of the irrigation system and how much water was being applied using special measuring cups scattered across the lawn area.”

Certified irrigation trainer, Paul Wilmott, said the most important thing to teach is how to measure the amount of water being applied and how often to apply it.

“Most people tend to water little and often, however the best way is to water longer and less often so the plant roots are getting the water instead of just wetting the surface.”

Charles Darwin University horticultural lecturer, Robyn Wing, said she wanted to further develop her knowledge about efficient irrigation to pass it onto her students.

“In northern Australia it is important to get right, as we have high rainfall during the wet season, but basically a drought during the dry season, so it has been great to learn about how to measure the water flow.”

Steve Bormann from Gimbles Landscaping, wanted to upskill his staff to implement water efficiency practices when managing gardens on behalf of his clients.

To find out more about Living Water Smart.



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