Jan. 8 2019 05:00 AM

They are partnering with the Colorado School of Mines and the Toro Company.

New Mexico State University’s Extension Turfgrass Specialist Bernd Leinauer and his team, in cooperation with the Colorado School of Mines, have received a grant of $750,000 from the National Science Foundation to work on making landscape irrigation scheduling technology more user-friendly when it comes to using saline, nonpotable water.

According to an article on the Las Cruces Sun News website, Leinauer says that the grant is to investigate promising technology already in existence that hasn’t been accepted or used by the industry or the end user.

Environmental and computer engineers from the Colorado School of Mines and turfgrass specialists from NMSU have partnered with The Toro Company Bloomington, Minnesota, to determine how to incorporate soil sensors that measure both salinity and moisture into existing irrigation scheduling technology.

Leinauer says in the article, “Soil salinity and soil moisture are two measurements needed when non-potable, saline water is used as a water source. In our project we are using a market available salinity and moisture sensor and developing a model that uses these data for irrigation scheduling.”

According to the article, preliminary research has shown that as much as 40 percent of water can be saved or conserved if a soil moisture sensor is used to determine irrigation needs when using potable water.

The team’s project will develop the algorithms needed to use soil sensors that measure salinity and moisture for irrigation technology using non-potable water. They will also be working with the Toro Company to help this technology gain a wider acceptance when saline or non-portable water is used.