Why Do We Need Smart Irrigation? (All You Need To Know)

Why do we need smart irrigation?

Households with inadequate irrigation systems can waste up to 25,000 gallons (94,635 liters) of water annually. Several controlled studies have shown that smart irrigation systems can reduce this wastage by up to 50 percent.

According to National Geographic, the U.S. could be as much as 5.7 °F warmer by 2050. This increase in temperature will lead to elevated levels of evaporation and ultimately result in less water in our lakes and reservoirs in the years to come.

The need for water is insurmountable, there are no two ways about it.

However, the methods in which we use this precious resource can be carefully managed, ensuring a sustainable future in which our children have all the access they need to a fresh, water supply.

Installing and utilizing a smart irrigation system is one such method of ensuring your green smart home allows for that future.

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What Is Smart Irrigation?

The setup usually involves a combination of advanced technology such as sprinklers with nozzles that are able to improve the range and coverage of water flow.

Perhaps the most important aspect of a smart irrigation system is the integration of the smart controller.

This device monitors the weather, soil conditions, evaporation, and plant H20 use. By monitoring these details, the system is able to automatically sense and adjust the watering schedule to the exact conditions needed on the site.

Why Do We Need Smart Irrigation?

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the world wastes about 1.7 trillion gallons (+- 6.4 trillion liters) of water every year.

Of which a large portion is due to using outdated faulty irrigation systems.

Here are some of the ways that traditional irrigation systems waste water:

Sprinkler heads: These can easily malfunction, they are easy for people to kick and trip over and become much more fragile the longer they are immersed in the baking sun. A few common signs that a sprinkler head is broken are; they don’t pop up while watering, spraying either too much or too little water and lastly not spraying anything at all.

Broken water lines: If a large area of your irrigation system is not working, it could be due to faulty or broken water lines. A few common symptoms include a depression in the ground, water bubbling up, or simply a very wet patchy area. 

Improper scheduling: A major reason why we need smart irrigation is its ability to sense the best time to water your garden. Traditional irrigation systems can’t tell whether it’s rained recently or how much moisture is in the ground. They are simply set to work at a specific time of day. This makes no sense if, for example, it has just rained. Integrating a smart irrigation system will save you A LOT of money and water.

How Can Smart Irrigation Save You Money?

To understand this, you first need to know how much money you’d normally spend on conventional irrigation.

Let us do some calculations for you.

To provide your lawn with 1 inch of water you will have to use a bit over half a gallon of water per square foot (0.623 gallons to be more exact).

This means every 10’x10’ area will require over 62 gallons of water.

At first, it doesn’t sound like much but remember a 100’x100′ lawn would require a whopping 6,230 gallons of water.

To calculate your own water usage, multiply the width times the length of your yard in feet to get the number of square feet of area.

To get the number of gallons needed for that area, multiply your result by 0.623.

For example: my yard is 120 feet long and 80 feet wide (120 x 80 = 10,000)

10,000 x 0.623 = 6,230 gallons of water is needed to irrigate my yard.

Of course, this assumes your yard is rectangular in shape. If your yard is an irregular shape, you’ll need to whip out the old high school geometry book to work out the area of your yard.

What Is The Cost Of Watering Your Yard?

Simply divide the number of gallons you use by 1,000 then multiply by the price you pay per 1,000 gallons.

In the U.S the average cost of water is $1.50 for 1,000 gallons.

So taking the above example: 6,230 ÷ 1,000 = 6,23

6,23 x $1,50 = $9,34 to water your yard each time.

Please bear in mind this amount doesn’t take into consideration sewerage costs.

Why Do We Need Smart Irrigation?

Most homeowners who use smart irrigation find that they can save up to 50% more water. This means (in theory) you can cut that conventional water bill in half if you opt for smart irrigation in your home!

How Do Smart Irrigation Systems Work?

Smart irrigation systems work by collecting important information from sensors such as soil moisture, precipitation forecasts, and outside temperatures.

With this information, the smart controller can send predefined user orders to actuators, that make the sprinkler system go on and off.

All this data is collected by moisture sensors, all you have to do as the user is define a moisture and temperature range.

When this predefined threshold is reached, an action is performed (i.e.start/stop smart irrigating).

The smart irrigation controller can even sense when the water is flowing and whether the pipes are clogged or leaking (massive water savings here).

You as the user will generally control and have an overview of your smart irrigation system via a mobile app.

However, your smart controller/irrigation will be set up in an atomized way, using the weather and information from the sensor to determine the best times, how long, and how much water to use in your garden.

4 Advantages Of Using Smart Irrigation

1. Save Money By Reducing Water Waste

Most smart irrigation controllers you will use are able to adjust for the daily weather, plant type, soil type, and slope of your yard.

The more advanced smart controllers are even able to consider site-specific weather adjustments, such as adjusting for the specific micro-climate in your yard. This reduces the risk of over-watering even further.

Considering that over 70% of our world’s water usage comes from outside irrigation and that as much as 50% of that water is wasted, I think investing in a smart irrigation controller is a necessity!

2. Increase Your Landscapes Health

Most people new to smart irrigation fear that by switching to the new technology, their landscape will suffer due to underwatering.

However, the opposite is in fact true. The number one cause of landscape loss is due to overwatering, not underwatering. This means by making the switch to smart irrigation, your landscape might in fact benefit.

Smart irrigation systems can be adjusted to water your plants just the right amount. This green technology considers the soil type and is able to switch between cycles, soaking your yard in the perfect amount of time, and allowing water to be absorbed instead of running off.

3. Prepares You For The Future Of Water

In the U.S. water bills have risen more than 80% within the last decade.

The cost of water is rising faster than all other utility costs and these rates will continue to rise to pay for infrastructure improvements.

Using a smart irrigation system will help you get ahead of the water cost curve and essentially help the planet by conserving its precious water.

4. Avoid Fines

Smart irrigation controllers allow you to adjust your irrigation schedule. Making all those micro-adjustments will make sure you stay compliant with Homeowner Association and Government water restrictions.

Final Thoughts

So, why do we need smart irrigation? We believe this article has covered most of the important reasons why you should – from environmental reasons to cost-effective reasons. Switching to smart irrigation is the clear solution for a sustainable future.

Further Reading:

Kyle Browning
Kyle Browning

Kyle is a researcher and content specialist at Climatebiz. He has a strong interest in green technology, particularly in photovoltaic systems. Kyle believes in a future where everyone has affordable access to renewable energy, regardless of their race, religion, or social status. This ideology led Kyle to found Climatebiz - with the goal to provide free information for anyone, anytime. You can follow Kyle on Twitter at @kylebrwng