Smart Irrigation: It’s Not Just for Farmers

Smart Irrigation: It’s Not Just for Farmers
Matt Corson

By – July 11, 2018 – Comment

Step into the summer heat, take a look at everything in bloom and growing, and you’ll understand why the Irrigation Association chooses July for its annual Smart Irrigation Month initiative. Now is one of the peak times for water use and misuse.

The word “irrigation” was once associated with farmers and ranchers, and their acres of crops and livestock that need water. However, if you’ve ever set a sprinkler on your lawn, lugged a watering can to your flower beds or stretched a hose to your vegetable garden, you, too, have an irrigation obligation.

Because of population growth, increased demand on aging infrastructure and other drains on our water resources, everyone—from homeowners to business owners to farmers—must irrigate responsibly.

Skim through Water Street and you’ll find ample tips and insights on what you can do to create non-water-reliant landscapes, as well as how to water responsibly. However, in this blog our focus will touch on what technology can do for you.

For years, scientists and engineers have worked to develop solutions for more efficient irrigation for agricultural applications. This technology has “trickled down” for smaller-scale use, making more smart irrigation products available to property owners, at more affordable prices.

The latest technology is fascinating. There are sensors that look at real-time weather and soil-moisture data to adjust water needs; that determine water use based on plant needs; that shut off watering in wet weather; and that precisely deliver drip- or micro-spray irrigation to minimize evaporation and water waste. Fortunately, many modern irrigation systems can be retrofitted with this technology.

But as they say, “Wait! There’s more!” As if being smarter about irrigation for the sake of conserving water and contributing to a “greener” environment isn’t motivation enough to upgrade your system, doing so also saves you time (versus using traditional hand-use sprinklers), and it’s the easiest way to keep plants and grass looking nice, according to a recent survey by Lawn & Landscape.

Plus, using less water costs less. Smart irrigation technologies take all the benefits of standard irrigation systems to a whole new level. This July, I encourage you to take more steps to meet your irrigation obligation. Take a “refresher read” here and here on what you can do to water responsibly this summer, and check out the Irrigation Association’s consumer resources for more information on smart irrigation systems and upgrades.