Case Study: Water

Customer Challenge

This customer faced the challenge of accurately reporting water usage for filing returns to the local authority. With an allocation of water across the property the ‘usual’ method of reading mechanical meters and sending the usage report to Council had become both onerous and precarious. Onerous as time taken daily was eating into other important work, precarious as the usage fluctuated and could impact on the allocation of water by Council.

The challenge for the customer was to find a solution that reduced time and could provide a more accurate total for Council than mechanical meters.

Solution

FlowInfo was selected for ease of use and installation, and the ability to allow the Council to access directly into the system for their reporting purposes.

How we helped

We asked the Customer if there was any specific water usage he wanted to track, rather than just a total amount. The Customer was interested to know how much water went to small irrigation use and how much to a single trough at the ‘home’ paddock.

Done. The system was configured to track usage to three points and using irrigation timing the allocation of water use was created in the online system.

Results

With an allocation for the areas designated to be tracked of an allowable 22,000L per month the FlowInfo system was able to identify that the usage was below the allocation – by just over 2,000L.

The real assistance was derived from the numbers:

Item Volume for month 1 Volume for month 2
Trough 4778.33 L 5098.61 L
Irrigator 1 8021.85 L 8159.64 L
Irrigator 2 6102.98 L 8004.31 L
TOTAL Vol 18903.16 L 21262.56 L
Allocation 22,000 L 22,000 L
Over / Under 3,096.84 737.44

Benefits

The main direct benefits to the customer were the highly reduced time commitment, even though he still visited the tank once a day even when he didn’t have to, the upload processes taking less than 15 seconds.

The total usage is reported almost instantaneously online so both Customer and Council could see daily the uptake and use.

Council were equally happy, the human element has been removed and they see the same numbers electronically the day after usage, we even built them a comparison against Consented allocation to show the ‘more’ or ‘less’ against the allocation amount.

Unforeseen benefits

Not only could the Customer work out his 4 ‘pet’ steers were drinking approx. 48L per animal per day. He could also compare consumption to temperature – not an unusual equation when hot, however reassuring for animal health checking.

The two small irrigators came back from the timer use with unequal amounts. Both ran for the same programmed time approx. 65 minutes apart. It was here we discovered that Irrigator 2 didn’t run for the full time allocation on some days and, worse, not run at all on others. A faulty irrigator timing programme was diagnosed. And subsequently rectified. And importantly the small crop was able to be recovered fully, rather than lost.

Cost Benefit

Recovering a small crop that could have been lost was worth the initial investment, and as our Customer said “We have been able to use our human resources a lot more profitably on the property, salvage a nearly damaged crop and look at our animal health overall.”

The crop salvage was equivalent to the cost of the initial system, the future should see better water use and less crop loss – and improved animal welfare.

Outcome

Working with Council has provided the Customer with surety that his allocation won’t be affected by Resource Changes to the overall water allocation. Going forward FlowInfo are being asked to install across his property and combine the usage by each water source – Bore | Tank | River extraction.

We believe this is a win for our Customer and the local Council.