Maintenance and Operation


The general understanding of an automatic system being able to operate automatically even if left alone and unattended will eventually lead to problems and if these problems are not addressed, will cause the System to fail sooner or later.
Golf courses can either sub-contract out these works but most choose to carry out maintenance in-house. For in-house maintenance, training by reputable contractor is necessary to ensure that training for the  selected irrigation technicians from the golf course is carried out properly and more important correctly. Practical and useful check lists ( when, how and what to check) that can identify faults or potential faults shall be used to provide detailed information on the status of the irrigation system.
If problems arise, the irrigation technicians shall need to carry out the necessary repairs, rectifications, etc using the right method and right materials. A lot of times, non recommended products of lower specifications as compared to the installed products are used which will lead to pre-mature failures.
Proper recording and filing of these maintenance works are very necessary to assist in preventing major problems, finding out root causes of problems and not to continue carrying repairs, etc. 
A well trained team of technicians ( 2 nos.) and keeping stocks of commonly wear and tear items are all that is needed to maintain the automatic irrigation system and ensuring that the system remains operational to the fullest as per design. Regular site visits by reputable irrigation contractor who are knowledgeable on the maintenance of irrigation systems can provide continued correct training to these technicians.
Proper operation is critical and one has to note that there are limits to all irrigation designs.  One has to understand the DOs as well as the DONTs for each irrigation design.  The most common operation DONT is to overload the pipe-works.  Mainlines can be easily overloaded by operators when carrying out quick watering for complete or section of fairways especially during fertilizer application.  Lateral pipe-works can be overloaded if too many sprinklers are turned on per isolation valve for valve in head sprinklers.  A properly designed pipe-works for a “block system” eliminates this problem.
For the continued operation of the installed automatic irrigation system, please note that all the above items are interlinked and are equally critical.
A weakness in one of the link will surely shorten the life-span of the installed system.  A well designed system with proper products installed by a good contractor coupled with proper operation and maintenance will ensure that the life-span of the installed system is not jeopardized.  
Generally, the only factor that is out of our control is lightning and we can provide good protections to minimize this potentially damaging factor.
An automatic irrigation system is an expensive but necessary tool where the use of water can be managed, distributed efficiently, delivered precisely to the target areas and has the flexibility to change the watering requirements in response to the dynamic factors of the weather.