Product Review

Smarter Irrigation for a Parched Landscape

August 27, 2012

Smart irrigation controllers are like thermostats that manage water consumption instead of heat, but rather than using just rainfall or soil moisture data, they use complicated evapotranspiration (ET) algorithms based on temperature, humidity, sunshine, wind, and other factors to calculate the amount of water transpired by vegetation and evaporated from the soil. The controllers use ET data to adjust irrigation schedules and provide just the right amount of water to maintain the health of different plant species and avoid overwatering.

ET calculations used by WaterSense-labeled irrigation controllers incorporate data on specific soil types, slope percentages, sun exposures, vegetation types, water storage at plants’ root zones, sprinkler heads and irrigation system type, and precipitation rates. The weather data used to determine the irrigation schedule and prevent overwatering can be gleaned from a number of sources.