Nov. 11 2019 07:53 AM

The first step in that process was the release of a specification document for public comment.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program plans to start labeling soil moisture sensors. On Nov. 7, the agency started that process by releasing a new WaterSense specification document for public comment.

Entitled the “WaterSense Draft Specification for Soil Moisture-Based Irrigation Control Technologies,” the EPA released the document for public comment in preparation for labeling these smart technologies. Also known as soil moisture sensors, these technologies can detect the amount of moisture in the ground beneath the landscape and override scheduled irrigation when plants dont need water. SMSs can be stand-alone controllers or add-on or plug-in devices that can be used in conjunction with an existing clock-timed controller to help it water more efficiently.

More than 28 million homes across the United States have in-ground sprinkler systems that typically schedule watering with a clock-timed device. To help combat water waste from landscape irrigation, the EPA’s WaterSense label helps consumers identify a variety of smart irrigation control technologies that reduce outdoor water waste by watering only when needed.

The EPA anticipates that, once the specification is finalized and these products can earn the WaterSense label, installing a WaterSense labeled SMS can save an average home with an automatic landscape irrigation system more than 15,000 gallons of water annually. SMSs, along with other WaterSense labeled irrigation products, will provide consumers with a variety of ways to reduce water waste outdoors and promote plant health.

With the release of this draft specification, manufacturers, retailers, and distributors that produce or sell SMSs are welcome to join the program as WaterSense partners and begin applying to label or promote labeled SMSs once the specification is final, which the EPA anticipates by summer 2020. Written comments on the draft specification and supporting materials can be submitted to until January 10, 2020. The EPA will also hold a public meeting via teleconference and webinar to discuss stakeholder comments on November 20, 2019, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Any interested parties can register to attend the webinar.

WaterSense, a partnership program sponsored by the EPA, seeks to protect the future of our nation’s water supply by offering people a simple way to use less water with water-efficient products. Since the program’s inception in 2006, WaterSense has helped consumers save a cumulative 3.4 trillion gallons of water and $84.2 billion in water and energy bills.