Sharing the benefits of soil moisture monitoring

The City of Joondalup and Irrigation Australia Limited have teamed up to demonstrate how soil moisture monitoring can help conserve precious groundwater resources.

Members of the irrigation industry and other local governments recently visited Iluka Reserve, one of 15 parks in the City of Joondalup with a soil moisture sensor, to see the innovative technology in action.

Soil moisture sensors monitor the moisture level in the soil profile at four depths and send the data wirelessly to a website.

This information, combined with weather forecasts, and data on evaporation rates and soil types, allows the City to irrigate more efficiently and maintain turf at optimum levels.

The technology means the City can determine the effectiveness of its irrigation programs and fine-tune, where necessary, to increase water efficiency.

Soil moisture sensors were initially trialled in 10 parks over a five-month period, and the City is committed to installing sensors in all active parks over the next three years.

Joondalup Mayor Troy Pickard said the City had recognised its responsibility to promote and implement sustainable water management strategies through utilising innovative technology.

“Over 98 percent of the City’s water consumption is for watering parks so it is important we only apply water when it is needed.

“The City is open to trying new technologies and best practices that will improve water efficiency in our parks. Soil moisture sensors have helped us achieve
this efficiency.”

Joondalup was named Western Australia’s Waterwise Council at the WA Water Awards in 2011, recognising the many innovative measures the City has introduced to conserve its water resources.

This includes monitoring groundwater consumption through meters installed on all 161 of the City’s bores.

The City was the first outer metropolitan local government in WA to install meters on all bores – a significant investment that has allowed the City to accurately monitor groundwater use, and, subsequently, the effectiveness of water conservation projects.

The City of Joondalup’s Water Plan 2012–2015 provides a coordinated and strategic approach for the City to sustainability manage water resources and deliver water quality improvement initiatives within City operations and the community.