MATE (or is that MAIT?), you’ve got to admit the blokes and sheilas at Gympie Regional Council are on the ball when it comes to being up to date and water-wise.
With water issues becoming a major political football both here and overseas, councillors this week applied world-leading irrigation technology to the issue of improving the water efficiency (and footballing quality) of Gympie’s extensive sportsfields.
“We’re everybody’s mate,” said Andrew Brown of MAIT industries, which markets and installs automated underground watering systems, mostly to the irrigation farming sector.
“It’s the first time this technology has been used in a sportsfield anywhere in the world,” he told Deputy Mayor Tony Perrett and Works Committee chairman Larry Friske this week, as he demonstrated the new installations at the One Mile Football grounds.
Irrigation farmers, for whom water efficiency is a direct bottomline issue, have been using the electronic sensor-based technology for years, Mr Brown said, but its use in sportsfields is very new.
“We put a sensor in the turf root zone about 15cm down to determine how much water is in the turf and another in the underground drainage area to let you know when you’ve had too much,” he said.
“The sensor is 3m long and works off the average moisture content over that 3m.
“The system then activates and later, de-activates the watering system so you get exactly the right amount exactly when the turf needs it,” he said.
“It’s not just saving on water by turning it off before it’s wasted, it also gives the grass water exactly when it’s needed to maximise growth,” Cr Friske noted.
It was all good news for Football Gympie president Trevor Kirk, who helped welcome the new technology. Similar ideas will also be applied at the hockey fields and Jack Stokes Oval, although not all the new installations will include automatic watering. Some are there to take measurements and provide information to allow maintenance officials to turn on the tap manually or monitor water needs and usage.