Think Water install a new Toro irrigation system at Iluka Golf Club

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Think Water North Rivers recently designed and installed a new fully automated 18 hole replacement irrigation system for Iluka Golf Club, located in Northern New South Wales.

The system utilizes Toro’s Golf Decoder Control (GDC) System to manage and control all automated functions of the equipment. This advanced irrigation system uses aerospace technology to create a reliable system for golf courses, with benefits that include longer wire runs, smaller gauge wire sizes, and more simultaneous valves in operation.

turfmate spoke to Think Water Northern Rivers Managing Director, Lee Rothwell to discuss the project and their relationship with Toro.

As Clarence Valley Council was committed to providing a pressure sewer and new Waste Water Treatment System for the Ilka community, a suitable solution to reusing the treated effluent was explored. Due to its proximity to the treatment plant, and ongoing requirement for a water source, Iluka Golf Course was the logical choice.

The existing golf course irrigation infrastructure was aging, run down and in need of an upgrade, which Lee said is typical of most coastal cash strapped community golf clubs.

The Department of Commerce  was contracted by Clarence City Council to manage the tender process and project manage the works Think Water Northern Rivers were the successful tenderer, with the decision based on the submitted design benefits, energy efficiency, pricing, local content and support and prior history of delivering a quality result on time and on budget.

Lee explained that the Iluka Golf Course irrigation scheme provided a win win outcome for the local community and environment.

“ A key objective forClarence Valley Council when designing the wastewater scheme was to reuse the effluent for a beneficial outcome in a community facility, minimizing  the need to release surplus flows to the environment. The effluent is treated to a high standard at the wastewater treatment plant, located about 500 metres away from the Iluka Golf Club. From there it is pumped back into a holding tank on the golf course ready for irrigation.”

 “We designed and installed  a twin row fairway and greens irrigation system. This watering system uses 100% of water generated over the summer period, however during prolonged wet weather events any water that cannot be stored at the WWTP is pumped to the river for ebbtide release.” Explains Lee

“When designing the irrigation system, we specified the the Toro GDC control, with Toro FLX35B Series sprinklers configured as a block design.  This standardizes the sprinklers to cover both Fairways and greens. Think Water Northern Rivers has been established for 31 years and in that time, we have had a close working relationship with Toro.”

Chris Ashwood from Toro Australia says that one of the benefits of the GDC system is that you can stage the installation with the existing system running. Once it’s connected you just flick a switch and you have a full-blown system working. The station-based flow management keeps everything running efficiently, while the handheld radio controls allow you to effectively manage your watering while on the course.

From the evaluation and design stage through to final commissioning was a process that took Think Water Northern Rivers 12 months. The actual installation process was almost four months in total. Lee says there were some challenges in delivering the project, as they had to work in with the principal contractor on the project, while complying with the Department of Commerce reporting requirements, Work Health and Safety procedures and Quality Assurance processes.

Another challenge was that, because Iluka Golf Club is so close to the coast, the course is based on sand which had been previously mined for heavy minerals.  The GDC system has integrated surge protection to shield the electronics from lightening and other transient surges, but with all of the minerals being removed from the sand, it was a challenge to get compliant and effective grounding. This resulted in Think Water having to extend the lightening earth stakes up to nine metres below ground level. Lee says that since that was completed it’s been smooth sailing.

 “Overall, the club are very pleased with the quality of the irrigation system and they’re happy with the automation,” says Lee.