Landscape & Irrigation

January/February 2016

Landscape and Irrigation is read by decision makers throughout the landscape and irrigation markets — including contractors, landscape architects, professional grounds managers, and irrigation and water mgmt companies and reaches the entire spetrum.

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Page 14 of 35 Landscape and Irrigation October 2014 15 GRAPHICS PROVIDED BY MILO, LOCAL SHOPPING. Irrigation technology, like all other technology, has continued to evolve and improve over the years. Just like our cell phones, tab- lets and automobiles, the new strides in "smart" technology have consumed the market, and have become the new standard in all industries, including landscape irrigation. Gone are the days of flipping open a Thomas Guide to find directions to a site, or driv- ing in reverse without a backup camera. And now we are finally seeing the departure of the beloved irrigation controller timers or clocks as they are called. Beloved because what could have been simpler; you just eyeball a site, guess an irrigation time, and you were all set. What is amazing is how accurate some people were, but no matter how well a job some did, more weren't; and to make matters worse, no one had the time to run around and adjust controllers as the weather changed. All of which paved the way for smart controllers. While the main demand for smarter irrigation has always been to combat water scarcity, once landscape managers started to look at outdoor water management, they quickly realized that overwatering was wasting more than just water. Aside from ex- cessively high water bills, overwatered landscapes were resulting in significant structural and plant damage, increased liabilities, and exposure to fines and compliance violations. Combined, this brought a major change to the industry, and has started a new era where water waste is no longer socially, economically or environ- mentally sustainable. First, let's review a bit of history. When smart controllers were first introduced to the irrigation industry, they focused on apply- ing the right amount of water to the right place at the right times. The dream was that one could install a smart controller, set the controller to the "smart" setting, and, like magic, the site would instantly transform from water waster to water saver. The reality, however, was a bit more complicated. Although the first genera- tion of smart controllers proved that weather-based irrigation was an improvement over a simple timer, the results were not as con- sistent as desired. These original smart controllers contained basic one-way communication in which the controller received weather data, and the smart controller's "intelligence" would then water as needed. But what about the rest of the picture? What if something The Evolution of Information Technologies Driving Smart Water Management Landscape and Irrigation January/February 2016 15 ■ BY CHRIS SPAIN IRRIGATION AND WATER MANAGEMENT ALL PHOTOS PROVIDED BY HYDROPOINT DATA SYSTEMS

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