Water scarcity and drought have always been an issue in Australia. Perhaps it’s not surprising to find Australians leading the world in irrigation water-saving technology.
Rubicon Water was founded in 1995 by five directors with backgrounds in engineering and water utilities. From its head office in Melbourne, Rubicon Water’s employees are focused on a single mission – to improve the productivity of the world’s farmers in an environmentally sustainable way.
The company’s flagship product is the patented Total Channel Control (TCC) system, which incorporates software, automated water control gates, flow meters, gravity pipelines and radio technology. The system improves the efficiency of open-channel irrigation distribution systems so they retain more water during transit.
Rubicon’s systems can supply water to farms within as little as two hours of ordering, compared with several days for manually operated systems. Farmers can get the water their crops need, at the right time, enabling more efficient and productive use of water on farms.
On a global scale, the water-saving potential of TCC is enormous. About 70 per cent of the world’s fresh water is used for irrigation and 30 per cent of it is lost during transit to farms from dams and rivers. Introducing water-saving technology on the world’s 300 million hectares of irrigated land could potentially ease the global threat of water shortages.
The rest of the world is quickly catching on. In 2014–15, Rubicon Water’s exports grew by 150 per cent year-on-year and the company opened its first European office in Spain.
Judges were impressed by Rubicon Water’s commitment to research and development, noting its longstanding collaborative research relationship with the University of Melbourne. They also praised the company’s staff development programme and strong risk management framework.