Nursery leads the way in water conservation

Article image - Nursery leads the way in water conservation Mackay Natural Environment Centre’s plants are thriving thanks to a new sprinkler system layout.

The Mackay Natural Environment Centre (MNEC) is leading the way when it comes to sustainable water use.

The nursery specialises in local Central Queensland provenance plants for rehabilitation, revegetation and water sensitive urban design projects from the rainforest to the coast.

Nursery and Garden Industry Queensland have officially recognised the upgrades to MNEC’s sprinkler layout as being best management practice (BMP).

While the facility was designed with elements of BMP when it was first constructed in 2013, including plants being grown on benches and using recycled nursery wastewater, Development Services director, Aletta Nugent said one of MNEC’s major failings was the design of the sprinkler system.

“During the development of an Irrigation Drainage and Energy Management Plan for the nursery, a recommendation was made to change the layout of the sprinklers.

“The plan proposed changes to the spacing of the sprinklers to make them uniform and to relocate them to the edges of growing areas where there were problems with inconsistent watering.

“MNEC is a small nursery, but the changes made to the irrigation system have made a significant difference to the productivity of the site, while improving water efficiency.

“Staff have been able to increase the growing area by 73 percent, while also decreasing water use by 37 percent per hectare annually.” 

Run by a dedicated team of Council staff and volunteers, the nursery propagates over 100,000 plants each year,  growing a wide range of local native garden plants for Mackay Regional Council’s Free Native Plant Program and other projects across the region.