Improving on-farm water security using innovative remote sensing systems
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Improving on-farm water security using innovative remote sensing systems
Lead organisation: Barossa Improved Grazing Group
Hub members and partners involved: South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI)
Project Category: Hub Projects
Project summary: 

Led by the Barossa Improved Grazing Group (BIGG), this project established demonstration sites for producers to learn about and observe water monitoring systems to reduce water use, maximise water-use efficiency and ensure livestock have access to water.

The project was extended in 2023-24 and is investigating the efficacy of other water measuring innovations, such as water quality and water salinity monitors.

Download the project case study

Project description: 

Four trial sites were set up on a range of different livestock enterprises (including sheep, beef and dairy properties) to evaluate different tank level monitoring systems. These were monitored over summer 2022-23 and autumn 2023. In April and June 2023, the project has delivered two farm walks and hosted the National Drought Hub Convenors Field Day.

Key achievements and results: 

This project was received exceptionally well by the local farming community and the region’s advisor network. At all sites, the monitors saved the producer time and money. They also improved mental health, reducing stress levels related to time management and worry about the levels of water in the tanks.

Feedback from participants

  • Ian and Fiona Koch of Bunyara Merino and Poll Merino Stud installed a Waterwatch T35 Remote Tank Level Radar Sensor with Telstra 4G-LTE on a tank that services the homestead and a number of water troughs (photo, below left), watering up to 400 sheep. According to Ian, “The monitor has been an asset to our farm since it was installed late last year. Traditionally the water level was checked by my ageing father, so the monitor has saved him and me a lot of time.”
  • Warren and Barbara Fargher, who run a cattle operation in Flaxman’s Valley, said that their Farmbot Water Level Monitor (photo, below right) saves them “time, fuel and worry” by eliminating the need to travel between blocks every two days to check water levels.
  • Another producer said he now feels confident that he can go off-farm and receive accurate reporting of his water supplies, providing peace of mind about on-farm water security.

Further information:

Project Images

Ian and Fiona Koch’s Waterwatch T35 Remote Tank Level Radar Sensor.


Warren and Barbara Fargher’s Farmbot Water Level Monitor.


Smartphone display showing data from the Fargher monitor.