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HOME > Land Resources > Landscaping > Weather-based Irrigation

Weather- or Sensor-Based Irrigation

Irrigatinon isn't an efficient use of water!  That said, we all love a patch of green grass, so how do we balance the need for beauty and comfort with the need to protect our fresh water supply?

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There are several strategies that work together:  Choose plants for low water use.  Mulch and compost to seal in vital moisture for your plants.  Use permeable hardscape (lets rainwater run through into the ground) and cisterns to maximize use of your rainwater supplies.  And use smart irrigation if you must irrigate.

Weather and Sensor-based Irrigation 

Irrigation controllers are far more efficient than waterhoses and sprinklers that water the sky!  New technologies are making irrigation systems more efficient, too. The computer controlled irrigation system has gone far beyond timers.  There are now sensors that you can install near each of your most precious plants such as flowering shrubs and trees -- and there are sensors to measure the moisture in the soil...and the air! 
 
Weather- or sensor-based irrigation control technology uses local weather and landscape conditions to tailor irrigation schedules to actual conditions on the site or historical weather data. Instead of irrigating according to a preset schedule, advanced irrigation controllers allow irrigation to more closely match the water requirements of plants.

These new control technologies offer significant potential to improve irrigation practices in homes, businesses, parks, and schools across the United States.

EPA's WaterSense program provides a label for approved conservation products.  They are constantly adding more kinds of technology to their test schedules, and irrigation systems in on the list!  EPA plans to label weather-based irrigation controllers and soil moisture sensors i the near future.  In the meantime, you can check with your landscape society, your local water conservation organization, your utility company's conservation department, or a state water agency for best practices and irrigation system recommendations.


Edited by Carolyn Allen, Managing Editor of Solutions For Green

Publication Date: 1/9/2009
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