The pump industry is no stranger to the complex and sometimes conflicting considerations faced by today’s irrigator. Dropping water pressures, ageing irrigation systems, changes in technology and ongoing budgetary constraints are just some of the realities that can intrude upon even the most dedicated efforts to achieve efficient irrigation. Combine this with the nation-wide focus on energy and water reform and it’s easy to see why choosing the right pump or pumping system is just one in a very long list of considerations for the modern irrigator.
It was with this mind that PIA member, CAP Industries joined together with irrigation products giant, TORO Australia and leading irrigation consultant, HydroPlan to present the “Achieving Irrigation Efficiency: How can it be done?” workshop in Geelong at the end of July.
The workshop was the first in what is expected to be a series of events conducted across Victoria over the coming months. The aim of the day-long event was to provide a productive and challenging environment where irrigators could access the information, skills and expertise needed to address a wide range of irrigation issues.
In order to achieve this admittedly ambitious goal, the three companies adhered to a very simple approach – less theory, more reality. This approach was upheld by all presenters, including the keynote speakers, who were required to include real-life examples, and perhaps more importantly, absolutely no branding or sales talk.
Keynote speakers for the day were Dr Dale Browne, Senior Engineer at E2 Design Lab, and Mr Richard Dilena, Irrigation Officer for the City of Greater Geelong.
Dr Browne began the day with a discussion on Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) and opportunities for stormwater use in irrigation applications. His presentation highlighted how we can minimise the import and export of water resources across town and city boundaries by managing the use of stormwater, rainwater and wastewater resources available. Dr Browne illustrated how this approach is already being put to practice, drawing on examples at Elsternwick Park and the new Harcrest development in Melbourne’s outer eastern suburbs.
Mr Dilena from the City of Greater Geelong followed on with a frank presentation on variable water supply pressures and the implications for irrigation of sports grounds in and around Geelong. Irrigation and water management has had an increasing priority for Mr Dilena since 2000 and he now specializes in this area on a full time basis. In addition to his own presentation, Mr Dilena invited Toro, HydroPlan and CAP Industries to conduct an audit on the irrigation system at Geelong’s Drysdale Reserve. The findings of this audit were then presented to a panel for discussion, recommendations and audience participation.
Other presentations for the day were delivered by the hosts of the workshop. Topics ranged from sprinkler maintenance and central control options to the importance of irrigation design and, of course, a consideration of pumps and pump systems.
According to Bou Spithoven, Managing Director with CAP Industries, while the workshop touched on a wide range of issues, it was not intended to solve every irrigation challenge in an afternoon. “What we really hoped was that attendees would be able to gain some insights from the experiences of others while also acquiring some tools to help them tackle their own irrigation challenges.”
Mr Spithoven highlights that the support of the City of Greater Geelong and in particular, Mr Dilena was invaluable to the event. “Efficient, effective irrigation is clearly a priority for Mr Dilena. I believe his willingness to get involved and share his experiences for the good of others is something we can all learn from.”