Fly­ing high to keep an eye on the ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem

The Cobram Courier - - NEWS -

Novem­ber pro­vided plenty of good fly­ing weather for a key tool of Goul­burn-Mur­ray Wa­ter’s sur­vey ser­vices team.

Drones are used to save time and money when it comes to plan­ning, con­struc­tion and main­te­nance of the more than $5 bil­lion in ir­ri­ga­tion as­sets.

The G-MW team found time to ex­plain the use of drones and put on an ae­rial dis­play for a keen au­di­ence at Nu­murkah District Health Ser­vice on Novem­ber 15.

As part of its Nu­murkah net­work of Planned Ac­tiv­ity Groups, the health ser­vice hosts monthly meet­ings of el­derly res­i­dents to keep them en­gaged and in­volved in the com­mu­nity.

The net­work’s ru­ral group in­cludes farm­ers, most with a crop­ping or dairy background, who have re­tired to Nu­murkah.

About a dozen mem­bers, along with nurs­ing staff, had a first-hand look at sev­eral drones, in­clud­ing the high-tech Ma­trice 210 and its ther­mal imag­ing cam­era and ac­ces­sories.

The group then trav­elled to nearby net­ball courts where G-MW em­ploy­ees and CASA-ac­cred­ited pi­lots draugh­t­ing of­fi­cer Graeme Eadie and ser­vice man­ager Ro­han Forster put a less ex­pen­sive, but highly ca­pa­ble DJI drone through its ae­rial paces.

With per­mis­sion, the drone snapped some ‘‘self­ies’’ while the prac­ti­cal ap­pli­ca­tions of the tools were shown with the fly­ing demon­stra­tion.

‘‘These tools help us quickly, ef­fi­ciently and ac­cu­rately map chan­nels and ac­cess oth­er­wise in­ac­ces­si­ble ar­eas, check the struc­tural in­tegrity of our in­fra­struc­ture and have a host of other uses,’’ sur­vey ser­vices man­ager Glenn Collins said.

‘‘Such ex­er­cises also help to spread the word on how drones are con­tribut­ing to safety and sav­ing time and ef­fort in the field.’’

Mr Collins said it was also a plea­sure to show new tech­nol­ogy to farm­ers who have lived through decades of their own forms of in­no­va­tion in agri­cul­ture.

‘‘These peo­ple are all for­mer cus­tomers of G-MW and many in their fam­ily re­main our cus­tomers to­day,’’ he said.

‘‘We ap­pre­ci­ate their in­ter­est and con­tin­ued in­volve­ment in the ef­fi­cient run­ning of the Goul­burn Mur­ray Ir­ri­ga­tion District.’’

Drones away: Re­tired Nu­murkah farm­ers John Black­man (left) and Ian Clark with Goul­burnMur­ray Wa­ter draugh­t­ing of­fi­cer and ac­cred­ited drone pi­lot Graeme Eadie. Pic­ture: G-MW

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