Be aware – installing an irrigation system may seem easy, but it’s not a task for the inexperienced. Save yourself from potential disasters by seeking professional help.
Get ready to navigate Victoria’s irrigation regulations! Many governing bodies have a say in your system’s design and installation. Remember to secure the necessary licence, certification, or permit for your property.
So here is a list (there may be more that I haven’t thought of) of the leading organisations that may be very interested in your irrigation system
1.) The Victorian Building Authority
The VBA governs the plumbing aspects of an Irrigation Installation in Victoria. They set, manage, and police the licencing and registration of urban irrigation practitioners in Victoria. They enforce plumbing regulations and plumbing compliance.
With irrigation, they are interested in Backflow prevention, Materials standards, Workmanship, and enforcing AS/NZS plumbing standards. The VBA requires licencing and registration of irrigation installers. Installers must submit compliance certificates, have insurance, and work to least standards.
2.) Your local water authority
Attention Irrigation System Owners!
Protecting our community and preserving valuable assets is our water authority’s mission. We focus on backflow prevention, utilizing alternative water sources, and promoting responsible irrigation practices to ensure everyone’s safety and well-being.
If you plan on installing an irrigation system, especially one that uses recycled water on-site, obtaining permission from the water authority is crucial. Failure to do so could result in non-compliance and the inability to use your system. The officer may also have a higher installation standard than other agencies to meet their specific requirements.
Don’t risk costly mistakes. Let the water authority inspect your work during construction if you need clarification on regulations. There have been unfortunate cases where projects worth hundreds of thousands of dollars had to be torn out due to misunderstandings.
To ensure a smooth and successful irrigation system, take the necessary steps and work closely with your water authority. Your compliance commitment will benefit your landscaping needs and the community’s safety.
Your local water authority may also need you to have Environmental Management Plans (EMP) or Environmental Improvement Plans (EIP) before carrying out installations.
One major thing to watch out for with water authorities is the New Customer Contribution Fees (NCC). You pay These fees when you connect a new water service to a site. The NCC fees are generally listed in a pricing guide on the water authorities’ website. They can be hard to read. We recently paid over $13,000.00 for a connection to a property where we installed an irrigation system. Several years back, I saw a figure of $80,000.00 for NCC fees.
Water authorities also have a say in your watering schedule.
3.) Your local council
Upgrade your irrigation system and catch the attention of councils looking to enhance their green spaces. Ensure your pump sheds/housings meet colour requirements or get necessary permits. And remember to secure road opening permits when working on nature strips or roads.
Service Authorities: Know the excavation and installation rules for your site.
The EPA – Depending on your class of recycled water, you may need to follow EPA guidelines
Melbourne/Southern Rural Water – If you work in a flood area or near authority assets, you may need permission to install an irrigation system.
Your customer’s specifications – As long as your client isn’t asking you to break the rules, they have a right to ask for their system to be installed at a higher standard. If they want the pipe buried more deeply than the minimum standard – so be it. They can ask for that to have timber frames under their valve boxes.
Irrigation best practice guidelines – These are guidelines for installation set by different associations. Irrigation Australia has One, The Nursery Industry Association has one, and there are probably a few that exist that I don’t know about
This list isn’t comprehensive, but it should tell you you can’t just go and “throw an irrigation system in.” There is a reason that legislation and governing exist. I encourage you to research this topic (if you plan on installing an irrigation system, or you could engage Ecostream as a consultant on your next project.