Water is one of our most precious and important commodities, but its availability is often taken for granted. Awareness of water usage and wastage is emerging as a priority for many Australian companies and, in particular, local government authorities, as they focus on improved environmental management.

They are finding Micromet an indispensable aid as they manage and maintain their many irrigated amenity areas, sports grounds, parks and gardens. It is common to see sprinklers operating in the rain because irrigation controllers are programmed to repeat pre-set watering patterns, regardless of actual requirements or weather conditions.

The new automated system developed by Adelaide based Micromet Pty Ltd manages watering using a central server which links irrigation water applications to actual plant water requirements.

Technical Director Jim Townsend, who invented the system for commercial use believes that it has massive international potential. “In addition, we are working on providing a similar system for domestic users within two years. With the number of homes which now have automatic irrigation, the savings to water supply infrastructure and urban water consumption would be enormous,” Mr Townsend said.

“What sets the Micromet system apart from others is that it is totally driven, as is plant water consumption by weather conditions. Hot days mean more frequent irrigation. Rain or cool days ‘push’ the next irrigation event further into the future.

“Sites managed by Micromet only ever receive a properly calculated amount of water and only when actually needed. Should rain fall, irrigation is immediately halted. The result is significant savings in water costs, vastly improved water resource management, and overall environmental improvement.”

The Micromet system stores records for each site and analyses data to produce two informative reports for each site. These reports are forwarded to clients every month along with a general overview, which allows the client to track the financial outcomes being provided by the technology.

Mr Townsend added that one of South Australia’s biggest users of water for amenity irrigation, the Education Department, has adopted the Micromet system, and is currently supporting its installation in schools throughout the metropolitan area and hopes that reductions of up to fifty per cent in amenity water usage may eventuate.

“Before Micromet, solutions to this problem existed more or less, but they were cumbersome and very expensive. Consequently, many authorities consigned it to the ‘too hard’ basket. Micromet has changed all that. Now an elegant solution is available at low recurrent cost without the need to make a capital investment,” Mr Townsend said.

Micromet is a completely different approach to amenity irrigation management. The system offers the ability to control thousands of sites at very low cost, using the currently installed site control equipment, but with no compromise to absolute cutting-edge, high-efficiency irrigation management science.”

Mr Townsend said Micromet is established in Adelaide, Melbourne and Wagga, and operations are soon to commence in Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Perth.

Later this year, offices will be opened in the United States, initially in southern California. Micromet intends to use a marriage between its technology, IT and the internet, to make Australia the pre-eminent source of irrigation scheduling information and services for the world.

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