Technological advances have moved smart irrigation tech well beyond Wi-Fi and now allow contractors to do much more than simply turn irrigation systems on and off and regulate water flow. Here are two water-saving smart irrigation approaches that can save your clients money and conserve water.
1. The Smart, Holistic Irrigation System
Controllers remain at the core of the irrigation system, allowing users to set when and how much water is applied to the landscape. Smart systems utilize one of two types of smart controllers in place of standard clock timers. Weather-based irrigation controllers (WBIC) use local weather data to set watering schedules. Soil moisture-based controllers (SMS) use data collected from sensors buried in turf, tree, and shrub root zones to adjust watering schedules.
Both can offer significant savings in terms of water usage, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which operates WaterSense®, a program that independently certifies both types of controllers as water-efficient.
The holistic approach—integrating a smart controller with a smart rain/freeze sensor and wireless flow sensor—takes irrigation system efficiency to the next level. Rain/freeze sensors detect freezing temperatures and rain events and notify the smart controller, prompting it to suspend irrigation. Flow sensors monitor water flow and notify the smart controller when a pipe breaks or a leak occurs, prompting it to shut down the system.
To learn more about integrating your clients’ irrigation systems and what products will work best for their needs, reach out to your local Ewing to schedule a consultation.For more information on the benefits of using WBICs, read EPA’s mini-report, Smart Watering with Weather-Based Irrigation Controllers. For more information on SMS controllers, visit Soil Moisture-Based Irrigation Controllers on the EPA website.
2. Xeriscaping and Drip Irrigation Increase in Popularity
As businesses, homeowners, and organizations increasingly focus on ways to conserve water, xeriscaping—the practice of designing landscapes to reduce irrigation needs—is becoming increasingly popular in the landscape industry.
In turn, drip irrigation systems are becoming more prevalent, and manufacturers are creating innovative products like the Ultrasonic Flow Sensor, which took top honors in the Irrigation Association’s 2022 New Product Contest Landscape Irrigation category at December’s Irrigation Show and Education Week in Las Vegas.
The Ultrasonic Flow Sensor facilitates precise, accurate monitoring by using ultrasonic waves to sense flow rate and sending flow data to a central control or standalone controller system.
To see the winners in the other categories, visit the contest page on the Irrigation Association’s website.
Drip irrigation systems also can benefit from Bluetooth-enabled battery-operated controllers, which are great for one- or two-zone drip systems. These devices allow irrigation technicians to monitor and change the run times on the systems by using a simple smartphone app.
For more information on drip micro irrigation, check out our blog, 5 Common Pitfalls of Designing and Installing a Drip Micro Irrigation System and download the Drip Micro Irrigation Guide produced by Landscape Products, Inc.If you have questions on xeriscaping, drip irrigation, and smart tech solutions for those irrigation systems, or you want to learn more about integrating WBIC and SMS controllers with other smart devices, lean on your local Ewing professionals for answers.