Drought continues to plague the U.S., with many cities, towns, and municipalities instituting strict watering restrictions in order to conserve water. If you think these restrictions force you to choose between dry, burnt landscaping and expensive penalties, you haven’t looked at the newest irrigation systems available.
We’ve all seen the systems of the past; rain pouring down while the sprinkler system continues to pump water onto saturated land, resulting in a large amount of water waste. Or the broken sprinkler heads that launch water high into the sky, watering everything but the lawn.
New irrigation systems are signed to look for ‘smart’ ways to water lawns, using the latest technology to determine the level and amount of watering needed. Using weather data along with historical weather information, the new controllers are also designed to immediately report broken lines and sprinkler heads, eliminating wasteful water consumption. Smart irrigation controllers utilize a variety of methods to determine watering levels, cycles, and time. These methods include the following:
Weather Station Data – Some irrigation system controllers offer access to weather station data. The system utilizes real time data retrieved from the weather station and adjusts watering times and amounts accordingly. If you are able to connect to a reliable weather station, this can be the most reliable watering method available.
Moisture Sensors – Moisture sensors are used in the soil to determine the actual level of moisture in the soil, helping to determine the time and amount of moisture needed. There are a variety of sensors available and you should get professional guidance on which sensor would best suit your irrigation needs.
Historical Data – The irrigation system uses historical data based on water usage in your area to determine watering levels. While the system will still need to be adjusted at times, particularly during hot, dry weather, or a long spell of wet weather, the historical data tends to be fairly accurate and will provide reliable data to determine how much (or little) to water.
If you’re seriously considering installation of a smart controller to replace your current irrigation system, contact a reliable vendor or your local water utility to arrange for an audit of your current water system. The audit will tell you how much water you’re using and areas where water is being wasted.
While replacing your current irrigation system will not be inexpensive, the savings in water usage (between 25% and 40%) will begin paying dividends immediately, leading to a reduction in water use, significant savings on your water utility bill, while maintaining a healthy, vibrant landscape.