Homeowners, HOAs, and commercial property managers are installing smart controllers at a rapid rate to water their lawns. Grass is the single largest irrigated agricultural crop in America. Turfgrasses occupy 2% of the land in the continental United States and use more acreage than the amount of land used for growing irrigated corn. This is true today and it was true over twenty years ago when I first entered the water management industry. It will probably be true 20 years from now. Yet, even with incentive payments as high as $87,000 per acre to remove turf, grass continues to stand out as a major part of our landscapes in America.
It seems almost weekly someone is telling us to remove our turf. It is a lightning rod statement creating lots of drama and noise at opposite ends of the discussion spectrum, but does little to change most people’s minds on the subject. This is not surprising considering most people’s reactions when told we must do something. There are hundreds of examples when telling people to do something does not result in the desired action.
Use A Smart Controller To Manage Water Better
It’s time to shift the discussion to using technology to solve the water problem with grass. This is representative and has been the American way historically how we’ve faced our challenges. Cars use lots of gas, no one suggests we ban the use of vehicles. Instead, we set miles per gallon performance goals and reward companies with our business who provide products that help reduce gasoline use and are better for the environment. Let’s do the same and start rewarding consumers for using technology to reduce the water use on their lawns.
Smart Controllers Save Water – Good smart controllers adjust daily based on real-time weather and evapotranspiration data. They apply just the right amount of water-based on the actual need. If it is cool today, the controller does not water as much as usual. The key is the daily automatic adjustment instead of a conventional controller manually adjusted on average four times a year. Smart systems automatically suspend watering during rain, freezing, or high wind conditions. Careful scheduling minimizes evaporation and encourages water to soak in, reducing the total amount of water required. In addition, the prevention of overwatering keeps plants healthier by encouraging stronger roots and discouraging weeds, disease, and fungus growth.
Smart Controllers Save Time – Once your site data is programmed into the smart system, the controller adjusts the watering schedule based upon the changing weather conditions and soil moisture depletion without manual intervention.
Smart Controllers Save money – Smart systems can reduce your annual water bill by as much as 30-50 percent by preventing the waste from overwatering to begin with. Plus, many local water providers offer rebates for purchasing specific smart controllers.
It’s time to switch up the conversation from removing turf to responsibly managing the water that’s used on it. Then, we’ll see more success in conserving and saving more water instead of shaming homeowners, commercial building owners, and HOAs to remove their turf. Remember, the intended goal of turf removal is to save water, not the removal of the turf itself. We can reach the same goal with performance standards and technology, which will leave consumers feeling much more empowered to solve future water challenges.
Here is an excellent presentation discussing the many benefits of using the smartest controllers available today.
Water management is the single biggest issue facing our industry today. For contractors, it is the best way to differentiate your company from the competition.
There are many “smart” controllers to select from, and knowing what features help you save the most water is essential.