Above: Brad Costin from Agriculture Victoria discussed dam designs and how to calculate the amount of water in storage at a field day at Earlston.
Gecko CLaN is a Landcare Network that supports 18 separate groups around the townships of Benalla and Euroa in north east Victoria. The network works closely with Agriculture Victoria and the Goulburn Broken CMA.
Triggered by extended periods of drought and regional fires in 2014 the network developed a project to assist its landholders to better understand the water requirements on their properties. Stock requirements, firefighting and domestic water use are all considered along with water access, delivery and storage.
The project uses case studies and gives landholders an opportunity to discuss their individual property water requirements at workshops. Each workshop covers a water needs assessment, consideration of evaporation rates, identifying options for meeting water requirements (flow rates, pumps, tanks and troughs), livestock management options and contingency plans, and a demonstration of measuring dam depth and calculating storage potential.
Follow up sessions are held with participants on best practice dam design and construction, where to site farm dams, use of new technologies to monitor farm water supplies, how to minimise losses from dams and planning stock water requirements.
Charlie and Marie Crocker who farm at Violet Town and Strathbogie have begun trialling a remote water level monitoring device on their properties as part of the project.
The family lives on the Violet Town property and the use of this technology gives them peace of mind knowing that their remote stock have access to water and the delivery system is working well.
The Crockers use a solar pump to fill tanks on the Strathbogie property that are connected to troughs that provide water for sheep. Despite the solar pump, there was still the need to regularly monitor the water level in the tank. In the past this meant regular trips from Charlie to check everything was working.
“If a pump or fitting failed and livestock became short on water, I might not know about the situation straight away,” Charlie said.
The remote water sensor in the tanks is now linked to Charlie’s smart phone so he can check it constantly. This has helped save time and money, particularly with the Strathbogie farm being some 30 minutes drive away.
The Gecko CLaN has also produced a YouTube clip with local farmer John Kelly talking about his journey going into a drought situation and the network website has many useful water management resources for landholders.
Kerri Robson’s position as Landcare Facilitator for the Gecko CLaN is funded through the Victorian Landcare Facilitator Program.
For further information go http://www.geckoclan.com.au/ or email Kerri Robson on firstname.lastname@example.org