Friday, March 21, 2014

From one symposium to the next

Last month marked the 4th Water Institute Symposium at the University of Florida. This bi-annual event gathers students, academics, water authority staffers and industry reps in Gainesville to share research and insight around a specific water theme.

Roving reporter
My tasks were three-fold during the event: attend the talks most relevant to my interests, manage the twitter presence for Miami-Dade’s Urban Conservation Unit and shoot video for an IrriGator media series currently in production.

All the way up from Miami-Dade County: Jesus Lomeli and Laura Vasquez
Nothing livens up a symposium like surprises and this one had several in store. Dr. Kati Migliaccio presented in the Stakeholder Engagement in Water Demand Management section. While revealing the success of the smart irrigation turf app she and a team have developed (generating data as good if not better than a weather-based irrigation timer), she also mentioned that additional apps are in the works. 

Dr. Migliaccio and the dominating smart turf app results
In the near future peanut, avocado, cabbage and tomato growers will be able to supplement irrigation decision-making using smart mobile devices.

Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department Policy and Legislation Manager Christopher Pettit was also in attendance. 

Palm Beach County's Christopher Pettit presents
During the Water Supply Planning section he mentioned that Palm Beach and Broward Counties have a reclaimed water partnership that sends millions of gallons of treated water from south to north to help conserve Palm Beach’s potable supply.

With all the disparate players presenting in organized categories, attending a multidisciplinary panel like Water Initiative in Extension was helpful.

The Water Initiative in Extension panel
I learned that Tampa Bay Water has been an innovative force for years in Florida, funding research around technology and conservation programs that are now the norm. I was also impressed by Polk County Extension Agent Shannon McGee who redefined for me the kind of role and impact a knowledgeable agent can have in her community.

Our work here is complete: the Dr. Michael Dukes stamp of approval
When all was said and done I had a mountain of tweets and a video to show for it. See that work here or below. You can also peruse all the presentations from the symposium here.

On to the next
Lest my entry title be deceiving I should mention that preparations are currently underway for the first South Florida Landscape Symposium of 2014 - to be held on May 1st in South Miami-Dade. And by preparations I mean the finishing touches because it is now sold out! If you were forward-looking enough to register, what can you expect? See this report back from 2013, or view the teaser trailer below.

Stay tuned for future entries about the above and other UF/IFAS water-related work, and for additional content follow IrriGator on twitter.

About the author: 
Michael Gutierrez is a water resources technician 
with UF/IFAS in the Ag & Bio Engineering Dept. 
He tweets, blogs and also shoots still and video media in South Florida, Gainesville and anywhere else a camera is handy. (image: IFAS Communications)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Vegetable in-service training video

In February 2014, a vegetable IST was held in Gainesville and transmitted through video conferencing throughout the state. This event had one irrigation presentation and is available on video at

The irrigation presentation focused on using evapotranspiration or ET to schedule irrigation. Enjoy!

Monday, March 17, 2014

IrriGator BLOG start

Welcome to the new IrriGator BLOG! We hope you find this BLOG as a useful place to share irrigation information. Florida has a many different irrigation challenges and needs. Here are a few pictures to show you some of the diversity in Florida irrigation. Look for more things to come!

Seepage in sugar cane

Microsprinklers in fruit trees

Lateral in vegetables

Big gun in vegetables