Ross Stammers runs a farm near Byrneside in Northern Victoria, Australia. The property is situated within the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District on high ground at the top of a shared irrigation channel servicing three other farms.
The lie of the land meant irrigation had always been difficult. The water supply was good when he was the only one on the channel irrigating, but deteriorated if one of his neighbours started irrigating at the same time. “I had a lot of trouble getting water. As soon as one of the neighbours started up, it was like pulling a plug out of a bath – it drained all the water down from me.’ Ross said.
The unreliable water supply had a significant impact on Ross’ lifestyle and his bottom line. To avoid damaging his crops through over and under watering, Ross had to constantly monitor flows “We’d often find that the flow had stopped during the night, leaving bays only half watered. We nearly had to stay here and watch it 24 hours a day.
“The system has changed our lifestyle.”
Through the Goulburn-Murray Water Connections Project, Ross and the other farmers along the channel were given the opportunity to have their channel system replaced by a Rubicon Low Energy Pipeline (LEP™). The LEP is a new type of shared gravity-fed pipeline which uses smart software and automated BladeMeter™ farm service points to ensure all farms receive high and consistent flows.
After meeting with Ross and the other landholders, Rubicon developed an 837 metre LEP Solution to supply the four farms. A pump at the pipe intake was installed to automatically kick in and increase capacity from a flow rate of 24 megalitres per day to 46 at times of high demand. The system was operational within two months of construction commencing.
Taking advantage of the promise of an improved supply service from the LEP, Ross installed a gravity pipe and riser system over 10 hectares of his property at the same time.
Ross was impressed by the professionalism of the install team. “I commend them. I’ve had no problems whatsoever.”
Now Ross gets the flow rate he requested through his BladeMeter, even if others are irrigating. When he places an order, the system checks to see if there are concurrent orders along the pipeline and whether they can be fulfilled using gravity alone. If orders exceed the LEP’s gravity capacity, the pump will automatically initiate and boost pressure to ensure the requested flow rates are delivered.
“There are four farmers that irrigate off this system, previously we could never irrigate together,” said Ross.
“Now with the backup of a pump we can all go together and I believe we’re guaranteed 12 megalitres each. We have flexibility and a constant supply of water.”
His BladeMeter service point automatically opens and closes and modulates to maintain the requested flow rate, so he doesn’t have to be on site for irrigation to commence and he can rely on the BladeMeter to deliver consistent flows onto his bays, freeing him up to get on with other tasks.
“The system has changed our lifestyle. The water starts automatically, so I can set it to start overnight and get up in the morning and already have some of my watering done. Irrigation is just so easy now; it’s better than sliced bread. I believe this system is a benchmark. It’s a great solution for us and I believe it will be in a lot of other situations.”