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Floating cover system used for evaporation and algae control at Australian winery pond

Case Studies | October 1, 2006 | By:

Problem: An Australian vineyard was experiencing significant evaporation loss, as well as algae growth, from an on-site irrigation pond.

To address the situation, a floating cover system for the pond was designed and installed at the vineyard in the Barossa wine region northeast of Adelaide in the state of South Australia.

Floating covers can be used to prevent evaporation and to limit the growth of algae. Geomembrane covers can prevent evaporation by reducing the amount of water surface that is exposed to the air. The floating cover also controls algae by reducing the amount of sunlight at the water surface. In the hot, dry climate of South Australia, a floating cover is an excellent solution for evaporation and algae control.

Evaporation and algae control are ongoing concerns for reservoirs, as well as businesses such as viticulture, agriculture, aquaculture, and the entire water-management industry. Evaporation rates are directly affected by the amount of water surface exposed, humidity, wind, and ambient temperature. The issue of evaporative water loss from storage ponds has become a serious problem for the agricultural community as more pressure is put on finite water resources. Irrigation ponds are also subject to algae growth, which can result in clogged irrigation systems and the potential loss of fish populations, where applicable.

To solve the evaporation problem at this winery, Australian geomembrane fabricator/installer, Fabtech, designed an 18,000m2 (200,000ft.2), unsupported, floating cover system. The system is a defined-sump, floating-cover design that incorporates customized flotation and ballast weights to accommodate seasonal changes in water levels. The system also incorporates a stormwater recycling pump that takes water collected from the surface of the cover and pumps it into the irrigation pond.

Proven geomembrane conversion techniques are improving water-storage capabilities, and are protecting reservoirs and ponds from evaporation, contamination, and algae growth. Geosynthetics industry advances using new polymer and extrusion-processing technologies, and entrepreneurial design skills are helping address new needs for a wider variety of water-management clients.

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