Aug. 14 2008 12:00 AM

Smart Irrigation

A network of weather stations broadcast solar energy, wind speed, temperature and humidity data to the ET Manager, while rainfall is measured onsite to pinpoint each site’s unique moisture conditions.

The advantage of using real-time weather data, says Water-Logic President Charlie Racusin, is that the information is never more than 59 minutes old. Terra could program its controllers to irrigate as often as they wanted or needed, but with the ET Manager, irrigation will take place only when necessary and in the proper amount to maintain optimum soil moisture.

This can eliminate the watering-during-a-rain-event conundrum that has plagued irrigation contractors for years.

Working closely with Terra’s horticultural experts, Water- Logic’s water conservation consultants installed four ET Managers throughout the WesternGeco site and began monitoring water use. In the first year, water use was reduced by 68% (6.4 million gallons) without any harm to the landscape greenery.

Paul Marks, public relations director for Terra, adds that a reduction in water wasn’t the only benefit to upgrading to the new system.

“Monthly monitoring of water usage led to the discovery of a major mainline leak that went undetected for years because it was leaking into a storm drain,” he says. Bertolino adds, “We have seen a twofold gain—the property actually looks better, and we achieve the look by using less water. So, we are not only reducing the impact on a delicate resource, we are saving money.”

Marks notes that commitment to smart water management enables Terra to exceed the scope of the base relationship it has with its clients. He says, “Clients feel that we are looking out for their best interests. Today, there is not a strong demand for water efficiency, but as the ‘green’ movement grows, clients will become more aware of what smart water technology can do. And as states and municipalities demand reduced water usage, clients will be more motivated to consider smart water technology.”

Irrigation retrofit reduces overwatering

Less glamorous but vital sprinkler heads also play a part in solutions to water efficiency. When it comes to sprinkler heads, Ted Sirkin, operations manager for Valvette Systems in Wood land Hills, California, says that low-tech trumps high-tech design. His line of sprinkler parts makes maintenance simple, provides higher uniformity and eliminates misting and over-

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