History of L’Eau Below
History of L’Eau Below
L’Eau Below began operations in the two primary wine-growing regions of NZ; Marlborough and Hawkes Bay, prior to the 1998/99 growing season. The business grew out of an agricultural electronic instrument business operated by founder AJ Thompson and his father Warwick, when they became aware of the growing need for specialist moisture monitoring equipment for assistance with the irrigation of grapevines and fruit trees.
Through their work sourcing electronic products for a number of industries, a relationship was formed with a Canadian technology business, ESI Environmental Inc, who produced a world-leading scientific tool based on TDR technology. This instrument, MoisturePoint, was used throughout the world at universities and scientific institutes for the high grade measurement of soil moisture and underground water movement but was not at that stage used in a commercial environment due to its high cost.
Following discussions with leading industry figures at the time, L’Eau Below purchased two MoisturePoint instruments, along with a large number of multi-segment probes, and began a service providing data to its clients and became the first commercial users of the equipment in the world.
Further development work (in partnership with ESI) followed and 2 years later L’Eau Below launched the first access tube based TDR system ever produced. This resulted in large growth for the business, which by 2001 had expanded into other areas of New Zealand (Nelson and Central Otago) along with several large growing areas of Australia ( Sunraysia, Golburn-Murray and the Clare Valley).
Within a couple of years an additional measurement probe which used similar (but much more affordable TDT technology), GroPoint, had been added to the mix in conjunction with manually downloadable data loggers to provide full time data measurement between the weekly or bi-weekly readings of the Access Tube Probe service.
In 2007/08 the technology had finally evolved to a point where a new, state of the art system could be put together using the GroPoint probe technology combined with cellular network connected data loggers and the result was live 24/7 monitoring using the GroNet system, which continues to provide high integrity, easily accessed data to L’Eau Below clients today.