A new partnership between two key consultancies promises to give irrigators ultimate system monitoring and data retrieval at their fingertips.
New Zealand water and land management consultancy Aqualinc has teamed up with SCADAfarm, a NZ water management platform, to offer irrigators a system to better manage water use and consent compliance.
Aqualinc general manager Jim Herbison said the partnership is an exciting new industry opportunity.
“We are both focused on supporting customers with the latest tools and technology to help users navigate through the increasing scrutiny on irrigation water use.
“This includes evaluation of equipment efficiency. Helping users engage with, and act on, their water use data with confidence that the data is accurate and efficient with a concise and clear presentation making it easier for users to achieve water management success.”
For 20 years Aqualinc has worked on land and water resource management, research, and irrigation design and development in NZ.
“In that time, we have been providing expert advice to farmers and growers on irrigation management, design and monitoring, along with resource consents applications and compliance, land management and groundwater investigation, and effluent storage and discharge.
“Part of our service has been our MyIrrigation platform, which customers used to make irrigation decisions and track water use for compliance.”
However, Herbison said that platform in its current form is at the end of its useful life, so Aqualinc has taken the opportunity to collaborate with SCADAfarm to offer existing and new clients a considerably improved water management, analysis and compliance cloud-based system that can be monitored, via a cell phone or laptop, from anywhere in the world.
The new system will see field data from Aqualinc’s customers’ systems uploaded into the MyIrrigation-SCADAfarm platform.
The on-site instrumentation remains relatively untouched, while the customer experience will change for the better, the companies said.
Farmers will be able to graphically view all their sensor data including soil moisture, flowrate, water level, equally well on phone or the computer.
Because it is web-based, access is very slick with no passwords to forget, and navigation is simple and intuitive.
A vital part of the new system is forwarding compliance data to local regional councils where required.
Council data must be continuous and delivered reliably and SCADAfarm has a solid reputation with regional councils throughout the country, Herbison said.
Combined with Aqualinc’s experience in resource management Herbison said this places the partnership in a unique position to offer clients the best information and systems to ensure they maximise efficiencies and production and remain compliant.
SCADAfarm was recently implemented by Waimakariri Irrigation Limited (WIL) to provide an irrigation management system for their shareholders.
WIL chief executive Brent Walton said the decision to go with SCADAfarm has proved to be the right one.
“Shareholder engagement with the platform has been great, especially the predictive soil moisture functionality, which has helped our farmers utilise water more effectively and reduce leaching losses.
“It’s been a win-win all round,” Walton said.
Other advantages of the system include predictive soil moisture monitoring with this optional feature a vital tool for growers using current and forecasted weather data to predict soil moisture levels up to four days in the future making it a powerful tool for effective irrigation scheduling.
The platform also offers alerts to warn users of impending limits being exceeded and incorporates easy download access to raw data for those who are data-minded with a whole-of-season reporting tool currently under development.