July 27 2021 09:12 AM

Influential industry members share why smart irrigation is important to them.

No matter what challenges irrigation industry professionals face, there are some aspects that endure year after year. That commitment to developing systems that provide healthy landscapes now and support future growth is at the core of this year’s Smart Irrigation Month theme of “Smart irrigation. Sustainable solutions.”

Smart Irrigation Month, sponsored by HydroPoint, is an annual initiative of the Irrigation Association, Fairfax, Virginia. It’s celebrated throughout the month of July to communicate and market the economic, environmental and social benefits of efficient irrigation products, services and technologies in agricultural and landscape irrigation applications.

Irrigation professionals should share with their customers and communities how they achieve sustainable solutions using smart irrigation technology and practices. The IA has provided resources and tips for engaging the media and the public for use on social media. Go to www. smartirrigationmonth.org for these resources and more information.

We spoke with industry representatives about what smart irrigation means to them and how it influences their daily work.

California Water Institute | Fresno, California

Smart irrigation means different things to different people within the industry, and we tend to focus on healthy landscapes, technology and people. With this being the 17th year of Smart Irrigation Month, we are glad it is catching on across the industry. The communication of best practices of smart irrigation among industry peers is also important, whether that comes via social media, conferences, webinars, political engagement or placement with traditional media outlets. Everyone in the irrigation industry has a responsibility to communicate these practices.

Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply | Phoenix, Arizona

As stewards of the green industry, Ewing understands that the only way for the industry to have lasting success is through more adoption and awareness of the best smart irrigation practices. Smart irrigation means installing and maintaining irrigation systems that use water most efficiently. Smart irrigation accounts for hydraulic, landscape and evapotranspiration information to best create a unique irrigation system for that property. Ewing also promotes water smart products in over 200 locations across the United States, and we work to educate our customers on best water smart practices. We sell pressure-regulating spray heads, smart controllers and other smart irrigation products.

Hunter Industries | San Marcos, California

Hunter Industries has a wide variety of resources to implement smart irrigation and we focus on actual water use. Smart irrigation is about using water as efficiently as possible through smart practices and smart technology. The sustainable use of natural resources is important to Hunter Industries as we strive to minimize the use of water on our campuses and in the manufacturing process while providing our customers innovative products that focus on water conservation. We support the EPA WaterSense program that helps consumers identify third-party tested water-efficient products and services. Reducing our water use as an organization is driven by our corporate social responsibility initiatives, and we have a current goal of reducing our water use by 30% by 2030 from our 2019 usage.

Jenkins Landscape Co. | Hobe Sound, Florida

Our definition of smart irrigation is using every bit of technology and practices available to apply the correct amount of water on landscapes when needed. We have implemented smart watering practices on all our new construction and our retrofit sites, as we only install pressureregulated heads on all the properties we maintain. When we install a new irrigation system, we try our best to keep the full-circle rotors on their own zone and the same with halves and quarters. When we need to have mixed radius rotors we change out the nozzles to a matched rate.

With new controller technology, we use flow monitoring with the ability to view water use and change programs via phone and rely on forecasts for watering. As a family business with over 60 years of experience, we would love to see our next generation use even more smart irrigation practices across all aspects of operations.

Munro Supply | Grand Junction, Colorado

More smart products on the market are allowing everyone to practice smart irrigation across their whole breadth of operations. We recommend looking at smart products as an ongoing responsibility, not an annual task. Landscapers need to keep asking “What, how and where?” They need to plan using smart irrigation to produce a beautiful environment. We believe it is up to our industry to take the lead on smart irrigation.

Smart Rain | Centerville, Utah

Smart irrigation is the basis of everything we do and everyone has the opportunity to conserve and help out, especially with our extreme drought conditions. Everyone has a responsibility to conserve, and for us there are a few deciding factors that need to be implemented for true smart irrigation. You need good weather data that is real time and not historical data, a smart controller that runs on ET and a strategy that accounts for rainfall. There are a lot of missed opportunities for rainfall even when landscapers are using a smart controller. Finally, smart irrigation means protecting leaks and waste to maintain the highest operational efficiency.

Rodric Hurdle-Bradford is associate editor for Irrigation & Green Industry and can be reached at rodric@igin.com.