Integrated irrigation eases the load for landowners

NIWA telemetry instruments form an essential component of a new centre pivot irrigation system at Station Peak, in the Waitaki Valley.

The water-metering system was installed, and is maintained by, local contractors. Integrating water flow-rate sensors with a NIWA GPRS telemetry system enables Station Peak’s owners to concentrate on farming, while management of their water resources is automated and accurate.

Getting the right amount of water to the right place at the right time

An efficient water-transport system is vital to distribute accurate quantities of water for irrigation. At Station Peak, water from the Waitaki River is pumped from a local storage dam and piped to the irrigators. Ultrasonic flowmeters accurately and continuously measure the flow rate in each of the five outlet pipes. The flow rate, measured by each meter, is recorded on a single data logger and transmitted to a data server where it is securely stored.

Both historical and near real-time data can easily be accessed from the server, and regular checks are made to ensure flow rates comply with resource consent conditions. The monitoring system at Station Peak is managed by Environmental Consultancy Services Ltd, Timaru.

Changing from border dykes to centre pivot systems

Border dyke irrigation systems are increasingly being superseded by systems using centre pivot irrigators and re-locatable flexible-hose line sprinklers. A centre pivot irrigator has an arm that rotates around a central point. For farmers, upgrading from border dyke to centre pivot brings huge benefits such as the time saved through no longer having to manually open or close gates. Some of the larger units can irrigate a 1 km circle, covering an area of perhaps 80 hectares.

Station Peak pump shed and pipes. [Photo: Lindsay Anderson, Environmental Consultancy Services Ltd.]
Inside the pump shed - monitoring instruments. [Photo: Lindsay Anderson, Environmental Consultancy Services Ltd]