Thursday, March 31, 2011

WUEP irrigation research project – version 2011!

With a new round of funding finally accessible, the irrigation research portion of Miami-Dade County Water & Sewer’s Water-Use Efficiency Program began in earnest this week with a day of repairs - to continue generating data at one site, and prepare another for eventual installation.

A day’s work

With only the bravest of amphibians to keep us company we began the work day at the crack of dawn, making minor adjustments to a homeowner property’s mechanical, city water irrigation system.

This property has elected to participate in this year’s water-saving study and will receive a complete retrofit, with water meters for data monitoring, in April.

From there we moved to resuscitate an older research site. An errant vehicle recently destroyed the backflow device protecting the home’s potable water lines from irrigation line contamination - at once disabling the system and also suspending our data collection.

Expanding the project

The new round of funding also heralds new aspects to the irrigation study. While we continue to focus on potential water savings through the use of soil water sensor technology, the study’s scope has expanded to include “smart” irrigation controllers.

Specifically, we will be monitoring the water-savings potential of a model that uses an on-site weather station (a temperature sensor and tipping bucket rain gauge) and detailed irrigation zone information to estimate and then replenish water lost to evaporation and transpiration (ET) in the landscape.

Further, our contact with different contractors and homeowners since last fall has introduced us to new suppliers in South Florida for all the sundry irrigation equipment we use in installations and retrofits. This should mean sturdier, if not less expensive, installs this year.

…tomorrow, the world!

One additional matter we are very excited about is the recent acquisition of some high-powered computer hardware. The UCU now has access to a brand new iMac! Harnessing this machine's capabilites will both strengthen and refine our video and multi-media educational and promotional work.

Let’s get it!

With three homeowner properties already on board for the study of “smart” irrigation controllers, the 2011 WUEP irrigation research project is full-speed ahead! Installs and much more commence in April. Stay tuned!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Water Quality Course 2011 (revisited)

From February 21 – 25, UF/IFAS TREC in Homestead, FL, hosted the 2011 Water Quality Course (WQC).

Meeting of minds

Over five days, leading scientists and experts from state and federal academic and regulatory bodies (UF, SFWMD, NOAA, USGS & USDA ARS) presented on various topics related to water quality monitoring program planning, conducting and evaluating.


Formal presentations were supplemented with hands-on activities. Field and equipment experts demonstrated cutting-edge technology employed in both water sampling and water sample analysis.

On-location learning

Given TREC’s location amidst the water quality monitoring mecca that is South Florida, undoubtedly the WQC included site visits to key places of interest for instruction, demonstrations, and recreation.

Looking ahead

The WQC concluded with break-out groups convened to explore possible future research collaboration opportunities among course participants.

Something else to look forward to from these five days in Homestead: the video work generated by the UF documentation team present during the entire course.


This year’s Water Quality Course was an unqualified success. In addition to all the participants’ interest and enthusiasm, this was largely due to the efforts of TREC’s Water Resource and Soil Science teams, who worked tirelessly in the preceding weeks to provide the infrastructure for all course events (and who also captured the images featured in this post).

Friday, March 18, 2011

KWM TREC website

I have updated some materials on the website ( Please take a moment to review and tell me if you find things I should update (overlooked) or things that are incorrect.

Also - please remember to BLOG and keep us up to date on what exiciting things you are doing (Nic? Richard? Luis? etc....)

Have a great weekend!