Until recently, most irrigation system controllers available for residential use relied on timers for controlling the irrigation schedule. The homeowner could set the irrigation controller to start watering at a certain time and how long to water the landscaping.
They can also be set to water different zones at different times and for different durations, but once they are set up, most irrigation timers are treated as “set it and forget it”. Most homeowners don’t go to the trouble of changing the watering schedule to account for changes in the seasons and local weather conditions.
The result is that most irrigation systems end up overwatering the landscaping since they are generally set to provide adequate water during the driest and hottest months. Overwatering wastes a lot of water. Some estimates run as high as 50% of watering with an irrigation system is wasted. Considering that Americans use an average of 7 billion gallons of water a day for watering landscaping, that’s a lot of wasted water. Overwatering also contributes to insect infestations and plant diseases.
Modern smart sprinkler irrigation system controllers can drastically reduce the amount of water wasted through overwatering. Smart controllers use sensors or local weather information to determine how much water your landscaping needs. These controllers take this information into account and only apply water to the landscaping when it is needed.
The information can come from on-site weather monitoring equipment, from weather data downloaded from the internet, or from moisture sensors buried in the soil. Your landscaping professional can help you choose a water-saving smart irrigation system controller for your irrigation system.