Do You Need A Smart Irrigation Controller or The Smartest Irrigation Controller
Water management is the single biggest issue facing the landscape 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 for choosing the right controller for your situation.
The goal of a smart controller is to make daily adjustments to the irrigation schedule based on evapotranspiration. Evapotranspiration is when water is transferred from the land to the atmosphere by evaporation from the soil and other surfaces and by transpiration from plants. The concept is to measure the amount of water used and evaporated daily and replace the water at the appropriate time. How much water is lost to evapotranspiration and the proper times to replenish the water vary with the type of controller.
Traditional controllers are typically programmed once a year, and then during specific times of the year (like spring, summer, fall, winter) are adjusted down or up accordingly. This allows for only four adjustments a year compared to a daily adjustment. Even if the adjustments were made monthly, this would only be 12 adjustments per year. This chart shows the potential for overwatering, and the times of the year it is most prevalent.
This chart below represents proper water use for your landscape. You can see the applied water equals the monthly ET.
Smart, Smarter, Smartest
Smart controllers adjust using one or just a couple of factors. For example, this could be an adjustment for real-time temperature or an adjustment for historical temperature. The way it works is if temperatures are rising, the controllers water more. If temperatures are declining, they water less. This makes a difference in your water use but has several setbacks. If the original program is set for overwatering, your adjustments will save water, but you will still be overwatering. Also, much more goes into evapotranspiration like wind, humidity, and cloud cover that using only a few variables will reduce the amount of water you can save. The inaccuracy of this data puts your landscape at risk. This chart provides a visual.
The smartest controller using Jain Unity software includes predictive analytics for potential rainfall. Why water today when you are going to receive rain tomorrow. The predictive analytics anticipate rainfall. It also predicts temperature changes and makes adjustments accordingly. If cooler temperatures are coming, your controller will apply less water than if it looked back at the high ET data from the previous days. Predictive analytics is what makes the smartest controller the best at saving water. Because the calculations are calculated in the cloud, ETwater and Jain Unity is the only controller and software combination offering this feature. Also, the controller creates a custom, cloud-based, ET schedule for your landscape. The calculations for this schedule run every hour. As the weather changes during the day, your schedule changes with it.
You can learn more about the smartest controller today in this episode from the Jain Irrigation training series.
The smartest controller often costs less than many of the smarter controllers while saving more water and money. If you want to see how effective a smart controller is, ask ETwater to provide a no-charge estimate of water savings to see how quickly the smartest controller will pay for itself. There is no better time than today to get started with the smartest controller from Jain and ETwater.