The Waipuna system is not designed for agricultural use, but has had some acceptance for urban weed control by local government. The system uses no toxic chemicals, is fully insulated against scalds from contact with hoses and equipment and the hot water jets quickly cool once exposed to the air. This makes them safe for busy inner city applications including playgrounds, curbs and gutters. With increased emphasis on catchment management and stormwater quality, Waipuna has lots to offer an aware local government.
Waipuna is a Maori word for pure spring water.
Basically the system uses pressurised water pumped through heating chamber and sprayed directly onto weeds. The system has several advantages over chemical control. With careful use there is no off target damage (unless the lance is pointed directly at a plant), it can be used in all weather including during rain, it meets occupational health and safety standards and it kills weeds immediately. Because of these advantages it can be used in sensitive areas such as around park benches, footpaths, stream banks, cannals, road verges and parklands.
According to Andrew Watson, Chief Executive Officer of Waipuna Australia Pty Ltd, asthma and chemical allergy sufferers have welcomed the benefits of the system.
Andrew says the special hoses and spray lances are so safe the operators can where normal attire including shorts and light work shoes. During a recent visit to the Waipuna office in Melbourne he said "the combination of heat, pressure and volume which the Waipuna system delivers puts it well ahead of similar machines and suppresses weeds as effectively and for as long as an application of glyposhate".
"Weeds are killed immediately, so there can't be any further seed development."
The unique contribution of Waipuna has been to mount a self-contained, computer controlled unit on a light truck or trailer. The system is used by local councils including Brisbane; Sydney City and Leichhardt; Banyule, Kingston, Maroondah and Stonnington(Melbourne); Geelong, Shepparton; Devonport, Clarence and Central Highlands (Tasmania).