Bermad Irrigation Control System

January 2020

In 2018, Think Water Marlborough commenced working on a three-year project with Deeco Services to deliver a monitorable and efficient irrigation control system for Whitehaven vineyard. The main requirements at the time were to:

  • Offer a centralised, competitive, and reliable solution to manage the irrigation for a property spread over two distinct terraces
  • Allow for dam level management and future multiple water sources (bore and dam) from a single interface and controller
  • Futureproof the irrigation control system by allowing for easy extensions and future developments via radio.

A Bermad BIC 2500 Irrigation Control System was used in the project to bring extensive monitoring and an intuitive user interface for efficient water management from multiple water sources.

Irrigation Control System central receiver
Bermad Radio RTU in the field, with up to 3km range and 10 repetition possible from the central controller.

2018-19: Stage One
With the central controller and master radio antenna located at the main office, stage one gave priority to bring automation to the field valves with one radio RTU per valve and original bore water source, an extra repeater links the two terraces. This allowed Andrew Holland, vineyard manager for Whitehaven to start the irrigation season in the best condition from a single cloud-based dashboard with app access. Later, as the dam work was finalised, the team was able to add the dam pumping and filtration system into the mix via remote radio unit with:

  • Up to eight outputs per RTU available for pump start and backflush valves
  • Up to four digital inputs per RTU for water meter pulse, PD switch
  • Up to four analogue inputs per RTU for mainline pressure and dam level monitoring
Dam level monitoring

2019-20: Stage Two
By adding field valves Think Water Marlborough will be able to add extra Radio RTUs at every new location without worrying about field cabling. In addition, BIC2500 will also manage the automated dam filling from the original bore as any input on the system can be turned into conditions that start or stop a program. In that case, we will rely on the level threshold provided by a level sensor at the dam. Ultimately all irrigation water will come from the dam.

Irrigation Control System with remote app access
Andrew Holland, Vineyard Manager at Whitehaven demonstrates the Bermad SPOT App

Day to day use
Andrew is now very familiar with both the Bermad SPOT Smartphone App and the console computer software, and is particularly pleased with:

  • The automatic alarms for low or high flow on the system provide him with quick reporting of a pump fault or burst on the system.
  • The ability of “pausing/playing” an irrigation program allows for vineyard staff to fix a leak and restart the system from the exact same point without the need for extra programming.
  • The intuitive app with different levels of admin rights makes will make it easy to manage and train different users and staff operating the system in the next stages.