Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Smart Moves to Save Water in Orange County, Florida

By Michael Dukes

It’s fitting that I compose this post when rain has delayed my afternoon plans to mow and reminded me that I can turn off my irrigation timer until the weather conditions dry out. That said, for most people it isn't convenient to monitor their timer on a daily basis. New irrigation technology affords us the option of automated, weather-based irrigation.

Properly installed weather-based irrigation controller
Real World Testing
For several years now, we’ve been putting these new irrigation controllers to the test in Orange County. Last year we highlighted the progress of the project discussing the success of the technology with irrigation reductions. 

OCU study data manager/masters student Eliza Breder and the Dukes research group
This year we’re marking the publication of the project’s final report via the Water Research FoundationIn a nutshell, using smart irrigation technology we have measured irrigation reductions of 18% to 42% over more than a three year period. 

Soil moisture sensor in use in Orange County research sites
Seal of Approval
Recently the Orange County Board of County Commissioners passed a resolution in support of smart irrigation controllers reducing excessive irrigation (i.e. saving water) based on our study. The Board recognizes that fast growing areas of the county will present a tremendous demand on the water supply infrastructure. 

New developments afoot: water supply must meet new demand 
Incentivizing these technologies is a cost effective way to reduce water demand. Further, the majority of customers using these devices during the study were satisfied or extremely satisfied.

Wither Watering Restrictions?
What does this mean for Orange County residents? In our study, smart controllers reduced irrigation when exempted from standard watering restrictionsBased on this success, plans are in the works to seek an exemption from watering restrictions for irrigation systems using smart irrigation technology. 

Some soil moisture sensor options: the potential for water-savings is boundless
Will these changes result in a full-fledged rebate program to encourage wide adoption of smart irrigation devices? Watch this space and stay tuned!

No comments:

Post a Comment