Friday, September 14, 2007

Great Turf - Great Frontage .........Great Business!

Appearances do count but water is precious……… YOUR bit for the environment!

Peter Harrison –

Many businesses want their premises to look smart, neat and tidy, both inside and out. The old adage of “initial impressions count” might have been said with business in mind.

Effort and money goes into a neat, turfed street frontage at a business. In the NT, watering of the area is vital to maintain appearances, with most having some form of pop-up sprinklers. But they are often a cause of frustration.

In numerous areas, vandals or other incidents damage the sprinkler, they commonly over spray on to hard surfaces and with our intermittent power supply , suddenly the timer operates in the middle of the day, spraying customers. As well, many, if not all over irrigate or supply water in a fashion that does not provide a suitable soil moisture regime, which should be deeper watering, less frequently.

The modern solution is the Kapillary Irrigation Sub Surface System, or KISSS. Already widely used in eastern states to improve water efficiency it can be a great option here too. More information at This system is usually cost comparable with sprinklers, but with superior operational benefits.

· “Anytime” watering when plants need it most without interfering with business operations
· Wide area underground watering
· Extremely high water use efficiency – commonly save 50% over sprinkler use
· NO over spray on hard surfaces or roadways
· Reduced cost of irrigation, due to reduced water use and low pressure systems
· Lowered maintenance

Even without improved water use efficiencies, addressing issues of suitable species choice, adequate plant nutrition, weed management, thatch and mowing height and frequency can save you many dollars. Consider revisiting what you do in these areas; seek professional advice, do not rely on your mowing contractor – they make money by cutting more grass and selling more services. You want to reduce their costs, while maintaining or improving aesthetics.

As well as improved water use efficiency, many premises may wish to consider rainwater capture off the roof. This is a very practical option for business, as large roof areas of shed facilities used in conjunction with, for example 30 - 60KL of tank storage [above or below ground in many different forms] can provide adequate water for many on site uses, for around $5 - 7000. This water use includes toilet flushing, vehicle washdown and some irrigation. It reduces polluted stormwater flows, and improves the harbour water quality by reducing these inflows, for most stormwater ends up there. Yes…….there is a cost, but green businesses are often perceived as “good” businesses by customers.

With all of us needing to do more environmentally, these options are technically and financially feasible for the NT.

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