In a previous post, we explained how much freshwater traditional irrigation systems use. Worldwide, the largest use of our freshwater (70%) goes toward irrigation. Although most of this is for commercial agricultural purposes, it really adds up!
In the article, we also shared how inefficient these older residential setups are, losing 50% of that water to wind, evaporation, and runoff.
While the numbers are staggering, they are also reversible.
A smart irrigation system can help you conserve water and maximize the efficiency of every drop. Today, we’re diving into a few easy ways you can use your new Sunrise Irrigation System to minimize your water dependency while still keeping your yard looking lush and healthy.
Why is Water Conservation Important for Irrigation Systems?
When you think of irrigation systems, your backyard landscape comes to mind. Yet, consider for a moment the large-scale impact of widespread irrigation efforts.
In 2018, U.S. farms irrigated a collective 55.9 million acres. To do so, they used 83.4 million acre-feet of water. While wells provided for half of this water use, sprinkler systems took top place as the most widely used distribution method. In all, sprinklers covered 31.7 million irrigated acres.
There’s no denying that water is a precious natural resource that’s only becoming scarcer. Any steps that we can take to maximize irrigation water conservation can help us save it to the greatest extent possible.
1. Adjust Seasonal Sprinkler Settings
Smart irrigation systems come equipped with internal clocks that can help homeowners control and optimize water use. To get the most use out of yours, consider the current season.
As a rule, grass needs far less water in the spring and fall than it does in the drenching heat of summer. If you’re still using a traditional irrigation season, you might not be able to adjust those settings. That means you’re forced to deliver the same amount of water to your grass all year long, even though it’s not nearly as thirsty when the temperatures drop.
Your smart irrigation system can automatically adjust to the temperature outside via live weather feeds. It also knows to cut back on water use if it’s cloudy, cool or rainy. This way, you aren’t drenching the ground when it doesn’t need it. You’ll also save time and money and extend the life of your system along the way!
In addition, these advanced sensors can tell when a rain event has just occurred and irrigation needs are low. They’ll also automatically stop irrigation when temperatures approach freezing, helping you prevent damaging ice from building up on your valuable hardscapes and landscape features.
3. Access Landscape-Based Controllers
Some of the most advanced smart sprinklers come equipped with sensors that can gauge the exact condition of your yard to deliver the appropriate amount of water every time. Some of the features that these systems take into account include:
The type of soil in your yard
The types of nearby plants and grasses
The degree of slope in your yard
The amount of sun exposure in your yard
These are all considerations that could affect how much water your yard needs. For instance, clay soil retains the most amount of water while silt and loam only retain a moderate amount. Old-fashioned irrigation systems aren’t capable of measuring any of these factors and can’t adjust accordingly.
4. Use Sensor-Based Controllers
What if your irrigation system could adjust water delivery based on the amount of moisture in your soil? With a smart sprinkler, it can.
Top-tier models include special controllers that utilize below-ground soil moisture sensors. When placed in the root zones of your lawn and landscape, these sensors help the controllers determine if it’s necessary to water your lawn, and for how long. You can find these control products as stand-alone devices or as accessories to existing controllers.
When you schedule your irrigation system to operate based on the moisture in your soil, you’ll never run the risk of giving it a good soak when it doesn’t need one.
5. Install Pressure Regulators
Most outdated irrigation systems come with sprinkler heads that operate at only one pressure level: high.
Yet, we now know that even a minimal reduction in water pressure can help you conserve a significant amount of water. In fact, research from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) reveals that if irrigated acres under medium-pressure systems converted to low-pressure ones, the energy savings could equal up to $15 per acre. Moving all the way from high-pressure systems to low-pressure ones could result in savings of up to $66 per acre!
If you’re looking to control an entire irrigation zone, you can add pressure regulation devices to the valves themselves. Or, you can install them onto individual sprinklers.
When you find your optimal water pressure, you can provide a more effective, uniform stream of water. This allows you to run the system for a shorter amount of time while still providing a sufficient amount of water to the driest spot.
Conserve Water, Control Costs and Transform Your Yard
A smart sprinkler system isn’t just a smart investment for your home. It’s an investment in the Earth.
When you make strides to conserve water and modernize your irrigation efforts, you step back from the wasteful practices that once defined these setups. As a result, you do your part to help reverse the trend of harmful water loss.
Are you ready to install such a system at your home?
If so, you’ve come to the right place.
Our team is well-versed in smart sprinkler installation and maintenance. We’ve helped residential and commercial customers just like you reduce their water dependency, achieve major cost savings, and transform their lawns with these devices.
Contact us today to learn more about the products and services we provide.
Former U.S. Coast Guard and Tampa-native Joseph Swett is the owner of Sunrise Irrigation, a Palm Harbor-based company that has been providing sprinkler and irrigation services in the Tampa Bay Area, Florida, for more than 20 years. A RainBird-trained landscape specialist, Mr. Swett is dedicated to helping Florida homes and businesses implement effective irrigation technologies and transition towards smart water conservation. In his spare time, Joe sponsors and plays in two men’s softball leagues, but also enjoys surfing and going fishing with his family.