Thursday, March 1, 2012

Curtain call: getting smart about water savings!

I recently produced a video for the Urban Conservation Unit (UCU). This short work briefly introduces the topic of smart irrigation technology – specifically soil moisture sensors and weather-based timers.

La nouvelle vague

Though use of a simple rain sensor is adequate when it comes to preventing unnecessary irrigation events in automated systems, there are other more sophisticated options on the market to help reduce water waste.

Going underground: soil moisture sensor

The soil moisture sensor is a smart technology that uses continual real time moisture readings in the landscape to control whether a system will be allowed to water on schedule or not.

On-site: weather-based timer (below), weather sensor (top)

The weather-based timer, in this case the on-site variety, uses weather information generated from its own temperature sensor and tipping bucket rain gauge, in addition to very specific details about each irrigation zones, to estimate when and at what duration water should be applied in the landscape.

See the video here.

The numbers are in!

Jesus Lomeli: UCU schools the public

The UCU always recommends upgrading a pre-existing digital irrigation system with smart technology. Why? Because these devices save water.

A well installed and calibrated soil moisture sensor prevents irrigation until additional water application benefits the landscape.
Similarly, an accurately programmed weather-based timer on a well designed system consistently replenishes the water that each irrigation zone loses to evaporation and transpiration.

Data collecting water meters

In fact, the now concluded Landscape Irrigation Project that I have been working on assessing soil moisture sensor and, more recently, weather-based timer water savings for properties in Miami-Dade County indicates that a homeowner system can see 40% in water savings when using either of these devices year-round!

And one more thing...acknowledgements!

My South Florida-based research at an end, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the players that made this project both possible and successful.

shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

Roberto “Dixie” Ramirez (ValleyCrest)

an artist with PVC pipe & trench shovel, everything I know about tearing apart and reassembling irrigation systems I owe to working alongside Dixie on system installs and redesigns.

Urban Conservation Unit

Laura Vasquez and I laid down the infrastructure, and then Mary McCready, Jesus Lomeli and I brought the effort to life. Peerless as irrigation specialists and educators, they are also my friends and colleagues por vida!

Dr. Kati Migliaccio

Our fearless leader at Water Resource Engineering, Dr. Migliaccio let me loose on a dream project that encompassed applied science, public education, customer service, urban travel and still/video media documentation and will influence whatever work I do heretofore.

Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life. Confucious

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