Smart Urban irrigation Project


Cairns Regional Council

Cairns CBD, Queensland

Project stage

In progress


Start date: 05 December 2018
End date: 19 June 2020

Project value

Australian Government funding:


  • Central Queensland University
  • Rainbird Australia

Focus area

  • Innovation and economic development
  • Facility and services management (buildings, energy, waste, utilities)
  • Natural environmental data and measurement (air quality, dust, noise, waterways)

Project type

  • Smart irrigation

Technology type

  • Internet of Things
  • Wi-Fi
  • Data Management (Data platform, open data, data privacy and security, blockchains, standards)
  • Wireless sensor networks
  • Environmental sensors
  • IT systems (interoperability)
  • Online portal

Project summary

This project involves conducting ground surveillance of 16 irrigated locations throughout Council. Providing data such as soil moisture, salinity and infiltration rates and allowing us to know where irrigation is needed, the duration of watering required and mitigating against nutrient leaching into the eco-system. Installation of new infrastructure will be required with new IQ site controllers, 6 moisture sensors, 3 weather stations and 9 flow sensors that in conjunction with 9 master valves will automatically respond to the real time conditions- altering/preventing irrigation programs. All of this data will be communicated to a centrally controlled management system which in turn will automatically respond to the current conditions- altering or shutting down irrigation programs when issues are detected. The challenge for this project will address being one of the first to use technology of this kind to become an Urban leader in irrigation on a national scale but locally provide solutions to the increased water demand to the Cairns Region.

The challenge

Better understanding of the communal park areas in regards to soil type and watering requirements. With technology and installed infrastructure such as moisture sensors and weather stations we are trying to then achieve a reduction in water usage. We need to build a model that collates the data then a communication mechanism that achieves real time adjustments to our Irrigation programs. The challenge is to find the best platform of interoperability between this new equipment that will be compatible with our current Irrigation software whilst complying with our Council network security protocols.


We have formed a Technical Support Group that includes an Associate Professor and Under Graduate student from CQU, a Technical Officer from Rainbird Australia and an IoT Engineer and IT Consultant from Cairns Regional Council. Collectively they will collaborate in building the right platform/model to collate and communicate learned data that will adjust Irrigation programs across high profile facilities throughout the Cairns CBD area.


Once complete the benefits will include the best use of water to irrigate public spaces with optimally efficient systems. This will aesthetically enhance parks around Cairns and bring about a way of recording a noticeable reduction in water use. It will also have operational advantages by implementing a more automated Irrigation system that will reduce workloads and reactive maintenance.

Lessons learned

Initially the problems encountered have included:

  • negotiation with project partners on deliverables, milestones and payment schedules
  • Scope change due to stakeholders requesting variations to our Irrigation design and inclusions within the project


Project is tracking well with an agreement in place with project partners, Contractors selected and equipment on order. Stage 1 of 7 is almost complete. For now we are focusing on ground surveillance, installation of new equipment and landscape reprofiling within the project sites. Data collation and the technical components of this project will commence in May 2019

Contact details

Name: Dan Mosbauer

Phone: 0407051263