Large scale irrigation systems for Sporting Venues: A Melbourne Case Study

February 2022

Metropolitan Golf Course Irrigation System Upgrade in Melbourne, Victoria

Think Water specialises in large scale sporting irrigation systems, from irrigation system design at the concept stage to irrigation system installation and ongoing maintenance of the irrigation system. Typically, the irrigation system includes a sprinkler system, filtration, water pumping system and an automated irrigation control with remote control access.

The types of sporting applications we service include golf courses, racetracks, sporting fields, council parks, and gardens. Many of these projects involve the design and installation of completely new irrigation and sprinkler systems, including the design and installation of a water pumping solution. Typically, Think Water is asked to upgrade an existing irrigation system. The reasons behind these irrigation system upgrades are varied. Often the system is just so old it has developed breakages and leaks, or the water pumps are inefficient for the water source. The need to replace the irrigation system usually comes about following numerous leaks and downtime, creating frustration for the grounds person and sub-par facilities for the public. Eventually, it becomes apparent that it is more efficient to replace the entire irrigation and sprinkler system.

Proper planning and design are essential when embarking on an upgrade or a new irrigation system. The site needs to be inspected and often surveyed. For new projects, collaboration with the project manager is extremely important to ensure the success of the project. This also follows for irrigation system upgrades. Think Water understands that timelines are very important in large scale projects and delivering the irrigation system on time is of paramount importance. For existing facilities where an upgrade is planned, Think Water understands that it is important not to disrupt the normal functioning of the facility and where possible allow the clientele normal access. For this reason, large scale irrigation systems are often upgraded in stages to allow for the normal course of business.

All of this takes a great deal of planning based on years of experience, extensive product knowledge and a great team or network to pull it all together. The Team at Think Water can deliver on all of these aspects and get a great deal of satisfaction in bringing your ideas to fruition.

Melbourne Irrigation System: Metropolitan Golf Course

A signature irrigation system project delivered by Think Water Melbourne was at the Metropolitan Golf Course on the eastern side of Melbourne. Melbourne golfers have been enjoying the golf course for years. Under its current name, it has been operating since 1908 and is recognised as one of the finest championship golf courses in Australia.

In 2018, following numerous breakages and leaks, the Metropolitan Golf Course management contacted Think Water to assess their current irrigation system and design a solution that provided reliable and consistent irrigation via their sprinkler system to the entire golf course. It was discovered that the existing irrigation system had been installed on the Melbourne course over 30 years ago. In addition to the regular leaks and breakages, it was also discovered that the water pumping system on the Melbourne course was very inefficient. The existing irrigation system had three different water sources: desalinated water from a bore, town water via the water network in Melbourne and lake water from a lake on the Melbourne course. These water sources were inefficiently used due to the existing water pumping system and its reliance on manual operation to switch between water sources.

To address this problem, Think Water Melbourne was able to design and install an irrigation system upgrade that included the supply and install of separate water pumping stations and water pumps for each of the three water sources. They upgraded the main water lines and sprinklers so that they were uniform and interconnected via Rainbird Weather Stations, which provided remote access, real-time technology and constant communication between the weather stations, sensors, grounds people and greenkeepers. This allowed for immediate pause or readjustment of the irrigation system via remote access, resulting in shorter watering windows, greater efficiency and a user-friendly system.

The $1.8m project consisted of 18 holes, practice fairways, practice greens, and two Grundfos pump stations. Rain Bird supplied their control system and sprinkler heads, plus the Rain Bird pump controller linked to the Rain Bird Golf Control System. All of this was completed in stages with minimum disruption to the Melbourne golfers.

To see more about this project watch the footage below from David Mason, Course Superintendent, Metropolitan Golf Course, Melbourne, Victoria.

If you are planning an irrigation system upgrade to your sporting facility, or perhaps even a completely new irrigation system, talk to our experienced Team at Think Water about your project and how we can help you deliver it efficiently and on time.