IA announces Smart Water Application Technologies awards

By edited by Kyle Brown

Gilbert, Arizona, and Garden City, Kansas, were recognized for efficient irrigation practices.

The Irrigation Association, Fairfax, Viriginia, named two recipients of Smart Water Application Technologies awards during the WaterSmart Innovations Conference and Exposition Oct. 6. The Town of Gilbert, Arizona, received the SWAT 2021 Outstanding Industry Partnership Award, and the City of Garden City, Kansas, received the SWAT 2021 Outstanding Public Engagement Award.

Through its Landscape Water Budget Program, the Town of Gilbert provides a customized, site-specific landscape water budget for different large outdoor water users based on real-time weather data. The goal of the program is to reduce excess irrigation while helping sustain healthy landscapes.

“The Town of Gilbert’s Landscape Water Budget Program is a great example of how a partnership between a water provider and private industry has resulted in more efficient irrigation practices,” says Deborah Hamlin, CAE, FASAE, IA CEO.

The Landscape Water Budget Program provides contractors data on water use at the site, as well as a custom water budget to compare that water use to as a reference point for efficiency. They offer recommendations for improving a site’s irrigation efficiency and work with the site to find custom smart technologies that are best suited for their setup. Since April 2017, they have installed smart irrigation technology at 26 unique sites. This technology includes smart controllers, high-efficiency nozzles, flow sensors and rain sensors, as well as some indoor water conservation technology.

For Garden City, the Customer Water Use Report program works to educate customers about water use at their property and provide tips and information to help them save water inside and outside the home. By merging the city’s Geographic Information System data with Automated Metering Infrastructure data, they are able to provide every residential address in the city with customized water-use information specific to their address. Each customer’s report compares their usage to the average usage of their neighborhood and the average usage of all water users in the city.

“Their program that merges technologies already used by the city to provide useful information to residents about their water use is a great example of innovative thinking to develop customer engagement and promote efficient irrigation practices,” says Deborah Hamlin, CAE, FASAE, IA CEO.

Since starting the program, Garden City has seen consistent declines in their gallons per capita per day usage. In 2017 when the first report was sent to customers, the gallons per capita per day usage for the city was 182 gallons. In 2020, it was 162 gallons. This report has played a role in conveying the need for water conservation in the community and provided residents with tools to help improve their use of water.

Applications for the 2022 SWAT awards will open on Nov. 1. For more information about SWAT and these awards, go to www.swatirrigation.org.