Dowdens Pumping & Water Treatment's Mackay Branch has completed commissioning of the Moranbah 'whole-of-town' Automated Irrigation System. This Dowdens designed irrigation system was delivered to improve the control and ongoing maintenance of township irrigation within Moranbah, QLD.
Isaac Regional Council (IRC) specified a number of key criteria during the tendering process that the system was to deliver. These system criteria included, but were not limited to: provide the ability for night time automatic irrigation to numerous local Athletics Fields that have previously been irrigated manually (using static sprinklers and travelling irrigators) during the day; to replace an aging irrigation system located on Mills Ave. and achieve an overall reduction in labour relating to ongoing maintenance.
Dowdens Mackay successful tender was centred on an innovative Central Control System that enabled remote monitoring and maintenance of the 52 irrigation sites throughout Moranbah. The Dowdens designed controller is based in the Goonyella Road Council Depot. Dowdens Central Control System comprises of a desktop computer, irrigation software, an online weather station and localised communication/data collection infrastructure (routers, modem and radio transmitters/receivers).
This irrigation system is the first time Central Control System architecture has been utilised anywhere in the Isaac Regional Council shire. The system transmits all data collected / collated via several forms of communication i.e. radio frequencies, internet connection (Wi-Fi / 3G) and direct wired connections.
The Dowdens designed Central Control System has the ability to communicate to all Toro Sentinel Controllers via either radio frequency or internet connection. The operator has the ability to program and monitor all controllers via the Central Controller. The operator can set independent watering days, start times and run times for each and every station (valve) connected to Sentinel Controllers. Each day a detailed activity report is sent to all operators notifying them of all system activities, such as no. of actual stations operated, how long for, if any stations recorded abnormal flow (high or low), system communication success or failures, abnormal solenoid coil current (high or low) and the status of all soil moisture sensors. Reports can easily be generated to show the history of all/specific system activities such as those listed above.
A wireless Weather Station and remote Soil Moisture Sensors were installed and connected to the Central Controller to efficiently monitor the regions weather conditions in real-time, and then adjust the systems parameters accordingly. The Weather Station and remote Soil Moisture Sensors are used primarily to prevent irrigation occurring during and after localised rain events and to calculate Evapotranspiration (ET) based irrigation running times. For example the Central Control System is programmed to turn all irrigation off for 3 days (adjustable timeframe) when more than 10mm of rain is received on any 1 day (adjustable timeframe). Weather Station calculates the daily ET and automatically adjusts irrigation duration accordingly (lower ET = lower run time).
This systems has provided IRC control and monitoring capabilities of 52 irrigation sites throughout Moranbah from one central site. Delivering vastly improved energy and water use efficiencies this Dowdens designed irrigation systems features automatic shutdown of all irrigation during rain events; automatic adjustment of irrigation run times based on ET; daily automatic reporting of all irrigation sites activity; automatic irrigation for 75% of median strips located on Mills Avenue; addition of quick coupler valves to flush lateral lines thereby minimising blockages; automatic irrigation of Little Athletics / AFL Sporting fields resulting in reduced labour required for manual setup of irrigators; reduction of effluent contact with public via system only watering at night; filters on effluent mainline have minimised blockages to irrigation valve and sprinklers, thereby reducing labour required to clear blockages.
Dowdens Pumping & Water Treatment's design philosophy for this project was: Cost Effectiveness - Current Best Practice - Ease of Installation - Simple & Effective System Operation - System Reliability & Delivering Greatly Reduced Ongoing Maintenance Requirements.
Moranbah Township Irrigation ~ Key System FEATURES & Components:
CENTRAL CONTROL ROOM Components
TORO Sentinel Water Management System software - EATON Computer with Printer, Router, UPS - DAVIS Vantage Pro2Plus Weather Station Console (Inside Temperature, Humidity, Barometric Pressure Sensors) - DAVIS Vantage Pro2Plus Integrated Sensor Suite (Anemometer, Tipping Rain Collector, UV Sensor, Solar Radiation Sensor, Outside Temperature Sensor, Outside Humidity Sensor) - WEATHERLINK Software - TORO NSN Support Systems (24/7 Phone Support for IRC operators)
FIELD CONTROLLERS Overview
Field (or Satellite) Controllers were installed at 52 sites throughout Moranbah. These units control the irrigation at their respective sites by direct wire connection to solenoid valves. The field controllers act as stand alone units, operating independently from the central controller. However all of the Controller's programming information comes via the Central Controller. This allows Field Controllers to operate even if the Central Controller is not operational for any reason (loss of power, phone network outages etc.). The Central Controller and Field Controllers automatically communicate at the end of each day to tabulate current programming changes, and again each morning to receive detailed system activity reports. The Field Controllers can be powered by AC if available on site, or DC via by 12V batteries trickle charged by solar panels.
Controllers were either mounted on existing structures or on Dowdens fabricated galvanised steel posts, hinged to allow access from ground level. Each of the 4 irrigated Sports Field sites have a wireless soil moisture sensor attached. The Field Controllers can be set to prevent watering when the soil moisture is above 50% of capacity (all are adjustable). A Mobile Soil Moisture Sensor was also supplied to allow IRC operators to manually test and record soil moisture levels at any location. All Field Controllers have a built in radio for communication to a 'Base' or 'Node' Controller. Base Controllers also have a 3G modem to communicate with the Central Controller.
MILLS AVENUE - MEDIANS IRRIGATION Overview
This portion of the project involved the design, supply and installation of 17 irrigation systems for all median strips on Mills Avenue, Moranbah (running from Goonyella Road to Clements Street). The existing systems were old, had unreliable battery powered controllers and required high levels of IRC operator maintenance. Most of the medians were generally turf with established large trees, approximately 10 metres wide, ranging anywhere from 10 - 230 metres long.
Each median irrigation system that Dowdens supplied consisted of: DC Sentinel Controller with radio, battery, panel, antenna, hinged pole, connection to existing Effluent mainline, flow sensors, isolation ball valves, solenoid valves / valve boxes, Toro T5 pop-up sprinklers with flexible risers and quick coupler valves placed at the end of the lines for flushing purposes.
LITTLE ATHLETICS / AFL FIELD IRRIGATION Overview
This portion of the project involved the design, supply and installation of an irrigation system for the Moranbah Little Athletics Field. The existing system consisted of a large travelling irrigator, which involved the IRC operator setting up the machine, manually turning it on and off and moving it to each position on the field. This produces uneven watering and often resulted in irrigation needing to undertaken during the day which goes against the applicable effluent re-use guidelines.
The irrigation system that Dowdens supplied incorporated: AC Sentinel Controller with radio & antenna (also incorporating AFL coverage), connection to existing Effluent mainline, 80 mm semi-automatic filter, flow sensors, isolation ball valves, solenoid valves / valve boxes, Toro 640 pop-up sprinklers with articulated risers and a wireless soil moisture sensor was installed on the AFL field to monitor soil moisture content.
MAINLINE FILTERS Overview
This portion of the project involved the design, supply and installation of semi-automatic filters at various locations along the effluent mainline. A 200 mm filter was installed in the mainline behind Moranbah High School, a 100 mm filter at Tallon Street and an 80 mm filter at the Athletics / AFL Field. Each of these filters included galvanised steel pipework to allow filters to be mounted above ground, isolation valves, filter, concrete pad and a Dowdens fabricated lockable enclosure. The filters are easily cleaned by opening a valve / turning a handle to allow the suction scanners to clean the entire filter without needing the removal of the element - a huge time saver for the IRC operators.