Are you Smarter than your Sprinklers?

Photograph by Jisl.

Photograph by Jisl.

-Becky Garber, Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado

You run your life with a smart phone or similar device.  It saves you time and that often saves you money. But if you run your sprinkler system with a device made in the last millennium, you’ve got a serious technology gap.   And that’s not smart.  Water is as precious as time and if you don’t run it well, that will also cost you money.

July is Smart Irrigation Month in Colorado—so proclaimed Governor Hickenlooper earlier this year.  July is also our hottest month of the year, and this year is hotter than usual, when we use (and waste) the most water in our landscapes.  So be smart in July and consider why having a smarter irrigation system is a wise move.

  1. “Smart” timers or controllers are the brains behind water conservation.  A sprinkler timer is the device that is used to schedule when your sprinklers turn on and off.  The “smart” timers come with a variety of features, but the bottom line is they use data and technology to apply water only in landscapes only when it’s needed.
  2. These devices will pay for themselves over time—and faster if there’s a rebate program in your municipality to reward you for your effort.
  3. If you are techno-savvy enough to use a smart phone or an iPad, you can certainly manage one of these devices.  Or if you’d rather not bother, you can have an expert monitor it for you via the Internet.  That’s smarter still, because it saves your time.
  4. The “ET” variety of timers uses real weather data to manage water in your yard.  “ET” is a high tech word that means “evapotranspiration” and that has to do with how much water plants lose daily from evaporation and the transpiring process that’s part of their physiology.  TMI?  Well, just know that the “ET factor” is important and if it’s in the calculations that decide how much water your sprinkler system puts out, it’s a good thing to have.
  5. Other parts of your sprinkler system may also be as low-tech as your long-lost 1998 cell phone.  Check out all the moving parts and replace them if they’re wasting water.  In other words, don’t let a $3.98 replacement part stand between you and getting rid of the brown spot in the lawn or cutting your water bill.

Be as smart as your phone and take advantage of Smart Irrigation Month in Colorado to make your sprinkler system more water wise.

Courtesy Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, the professional organization of the landscape contracting industry that has about 700 member companies in six chapters statewide.  

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