By Laura Ory
It happens every July: Smart Irrigation Month.
Sure, it isn’t as well known as others in the “Cause of the Month” club (such as the powerhouse Movember or October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month), but Smart Irrigation Month deserves to be a cause we can proudly get behind to showcase the landscape and irrigation industries.
In some areas of the country, drought and water shortages have spurred on Smart irrigation rebates and mandates, and raised awareness. But in many other areas, landscape water use isn’t given much thought and Smart irrigation remains a relatively unfamiliar concept.
Still, even in the most water-rich regions, water conservation is something nearly all us strive for. It makes sense to us to shut off our taps while we’re brushing our teeth, and to do other things to prevent unnecessary water waste inside our homes and workplaces; but why not in our landscapes?
Maybe it’s because most of us don’t usually see our outdoor water use. We don’t realize that half of landscape water use is wasted, running down the sidewalk or evaporating away. Or maybe we just we don’t know there’s a better way. And that’s where you come in.
Smart irrigation isn’t something most property owners are seeking out yet, so it’s up to you to start the conversation. Yep, it’s time to have “the talk” with anyone you can about Smart irrigation.
Yes, talking about Smart irrigation might be awkward. And it definitely will be if you use terms like “evapotranspiration” and “matched precipitation rates.” Most clients just aren’t ready for that.
But if you take the time to put it in simple terms and explain how it can save water, you might be surprised by how many people want to hear what you have to say.
At Ewing, we’ve created some customizable and printable forms to help contractors start the conversation with clients, and to help sell them on Smart irrigation upgrades. You can check them out at www.ewing1.com/smart.
You can even reach out to your local homeowners’ associations, news reporters, and community groups to spread the Smart irrigation message even further. And when they finally do have a Smart irrigation question, you’ll be the one to whom they’ll reach out.
The smartest thing you can do for Smart Irrigation Month might just be sharing your Smart irrigation knowledge.
Laura Ory is social media and digital strategist at Ewing Irrigation.
Smart Irrigation Selling Points
Need help talking about Smart irrigation? Here are some ways you can explain and sell some common Smart upgrades and services:
Water-efficient nozzles create larger droplets and water more evenly to prevent evaporation and reduce overwatering with a potential water savings of 30 percent.
Some nozzles, rotors and spray bodies offer pressure regulation to make systems with high or low pressure more water efficient.
Properties with elevation changes can benefit from built-in check valves to prevent leakage and puddles in low areas.
Drip irrigation reduces water use by applying only the required amount of water directly to the soil near the root zone, minimizing evaporation and water waste.
Potential water savings of 30 to 50 percent.
Smart controllers and sensor add-ons
More advanced than a typical timer, these controllers use weather or soil moisture data to automatically adjust your irrigation schedule to what the landscape needs.
Soil moisture sensors measure water in the soil near plant roots.
Weather sensors can measure temperature, rain and more and prevent your system from watering when it’s raining or when temperatures are near freezing.
Smart controllers and sensor add-ons offer a potential water savings of 10 to 60 percent.
WaterSense-labeled controllers can save an average home 8,800 gallons of water each year.
For those who are really trying to measure and track their water use, a flow meter for irrigation will alert you to irrigation leaks and help keep track of water use.
Compacted soil increases irrigation run off and water waste.
Aerating and additives like soil wetting agents, lyme, gypsum, Turface and AquaSmart Pro can increase how much water the soil will hold.
Remember, even the smartest technology can waste water if it isn’t installed and maintained correctly, and potential water savings vary by location and conditions.
— Laura Ory, Ewing Irrigation.