Trick for accurate watering

Otago polytechnic sports turf management project manager Gary Smith holds one of the plastic cups...
Otago polytechnic sports turf management project manager Gary Smith holds one of the plastic cups used by some Melbourne residents to measure how much water their home irrigation systems use. Photo by Colin Williscroft.
A Cromwell turf specialist is encouraging the Central Otago District Council (CODC) to follow the lead of a Melbourne council and help residents measure water use on their lawns and gardens.

Gary Smith, Otago Polytechnic sports turf management programme manager, said he discovered, on a recent visit to Melbourne, a council there distributed small plastic cups to residents to show them how much water their home irrigation used.

The cups were placed around watered areas.

There was merit in the idea being adopted in Central Otago, Mr Smith said.

"It's a fantastic idea that will help people save water and, once they have to start paying for it, money.

"The cups show just how much water people are putting on, which they need to know.

"It's a simple idea but one that will help people understand their water use.

"Australia is well in front of us when it comes to water management, so we don't need to reinvent the wheel."

People with domestic irrigation systems needed to rethink how they were used, he said.

"The catch-cry should bemillimetres, not minutes."

Applying any more than a measured 10ml of water in one of the cups at a time wasted water and leached nutrients out of the soil, he said.

Mr Smith hoped the council and polytechnic could share resources to run Central Otago water-use workshops.

That was an idea that the council would certainly consider, CODC chief executive Phil Melhopt said.

"Educating water users about their consumption is something that we will be doing. We need to help people understand how much they use."

The council was open to ideas used by other councils and authorities to monitor water use, he said, and work on what measures could be utilised was ongoing.

There would be a significant review of those processes at a meeting in October, to ensure the council was on the right track, Mr Melhopt said.



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