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Why Port Pirie Council made the switch to Hunter Industries

CHALLENGE

No centralised irrigation control system

Port Pirie is 227km north of Adelaide on the Spencer Gulf. The local Council manages services over 1,761 kms2, including seven rural communities, from Koolunga in the south, to Napperby in the north.

The region is arid and windy, with hot, dry summers and crisp winters, so irrigation is essential for local parks and rec grounds, but when Port Pirie Council went out to the market to request tenders to install an irrigation controller, they’d been without a centralised system for eight years. All their irrigation was controlled manually.

As a result, the council team had to drive around the region to turn irrigation on and off, adjust settings, and do maintenance checks. Parks and recreation supervisor Allan Henderson explains if there was rain, it took his team 10 hours to drive around the 12 main parks to turn the irrigation off. There wasn’t time or resource to visit the smaller rec grounds, so precious water would go to waste.

A strategic focus on saving water and minimising unnecessary travel, led the Council to budget for a new centralised irrigation system. So, in 2021 Allan’s team went out to market to ask for quotes.

SOLUTION

Complete control from their phones with Hunter Centralus

The Port Pirie sprinkler system isn’t Hunter. So, when the Council put out a tender, they asked for a controller to match their sprinklers. But when Darren Riggs from Nelson Australia saw the tender request, he called Allan and asked if he was open to alternatives. Darren knew all the system needed was a change of controllers to make it compatible with the Hunter Centralus cloud-based mobile control system. Port Pirie’s existing sprinklers, valves, and wiring could all stay.

Allan was open to ideas, so Darren and Lynne Watts from Hunter Industries drove up to see Allan and show him just how easy the Hunter system is to use. When Allan saw how user friendly Centralus is, he agreed to a quote, and after deliberation, Port Pirie Council decided to make the switch to Hunter.

If you’re looking for easy, affordable central irrigation control, Hunter Centralus is top of the game. Centralus is cloud-based, accessible from any device with an internet connection. Sprinklers are connected to the system by Wi-Fi, so you can program them, change settings, stop, or start every sprinkler remotely. Flow sensors monitor unusual variations in flow, so you’re alerted if a pipe bursts or a valve doesn’t open. Not only that, but you can sync watering to weather forecasts and automatically adjust for local weather conditions, saving water and protecting your plantings.

RESULTS

Saving time, saving water, and saving money

Allan explains, “We’re all about saving water and saving money. We started with our 12 largest parks, and we quickly found out just how good the Centralus system is. It’s mobile, so our team can check and change everything from their phones. No more long drives to turn off sprinklers when it rains. And our managers are happy with how it’s helping us meet our KPIs for saving water.”

“Also, Centralus is so easy to use. It’s made managing irrigation so much simpler. We built two new AFL ovals a few years ago, and they’re centrally controlled with a system from our previous irrigation provider, but it’s not as good, not as easy to use.”

“I’ve got to mention the price. The quote for the Hunter Centralus system and the quote we had from our previous irrigation supplier were like chalk and cheese. We’ve saved so much money installing Hunter in our larger parks, that we’re now able to install the system in all our parks without going over budget.”

“The other reason we chose Hunter is service. Over the last few years our previous irrigation providers let us down. It would take four months to get a part, and while they quoted for installing the controller, we didn’t hear anything else from them.”

“Whereas Darren was happy to come and show us how Hunter worked. And he and Lynne spent a day here programming all the parks and showing our team how to use the system. They’ve been great, very quick to get back if we’ve got questions, very helpful, and supportive. We’re really happy with the whole project.”