Watering plants the automated way

Watering plants the automated way

SINGAPORE - When landscaping firm director Alan Tan took over Blooms & Greens' four-hectare nursery at Lim Chu Kang three years ago, he knew it needed a better way to water plants.

"Before this, I owned another nursery, 50 per cent of which had a drip irrigation system. So I knew it would save on labour and it's fool-proof," says Mr Tan.

The fact that hiring workers to manually water the plants was becoming increasingly expensive and difficult, only made the implementation of such a system even more of a no-brainer.

And there was no need for any form of government incentive or subsidy to spur the project either. "We did not tap on any grant... there is a direct benefit. It solves a lot of my problems, so it's effective and it made sense," Mr Tan says.

He decided to take the DIY route. Hiring a contractor to build a system for him would have cost $40,000 to $50,000, by his own estimates.

Certain that the raw equipment needed to set up a drip irrigation system would cost much less, Mr Tan chose to source the best pump, controller, and pipes directly from manufacturers so as to save the firm some money, and then put it together himself.

While the entire set-up can't really be described as cutting-edge technology, the efficiencies gained have been significant, says Mr Tan. "I won't say my system is 100 per cent automated, we still need a person to go around to switch on certain valves," he says, comparing this to more advanced European irrigation systems which are fully automated, with sprinklers controlled by pre-set timers.

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