The Smart Water Application Technologies initiative has made recent testing advances on several protocols and is refining a new protocol. Managed by the Irrigation Association, SWAT is a collaborative effort between water providers and the irrigation industry, working to promote landscape water-use efficiency through innovative technology.

Rainfall shutoff devices from a number of manufacturers are currently being tested against the SWAT third draft testing protocol (Oct. 2009) at the University of Florida to determine the accuracy of the devices under simulated rainfall conditions. Led by Dr. Michael D. Dukes, associate professor and irrigation specialist, reliability testing is being done to increase consumer confidence and prepare for EPA WaterSense labeling.

The first SWAT draft protocol for testing pressure-regulating sprinklers is now available for public comment until Sept. 26, 2010. Commonly called pop-up spray heads, pressure-regulating sprinklers are defined as those that do not have a rotating stem. The protocol tests the devices’ effectiveness with various inlet pressures and flow rates. During the comment period, beta testing at North Carolina State University (Raleigh, N.C.) will verify the procedures outlined in the protocol. The SWAT Technology Working Group will post all comments and responses.

Finally, seven soil moisture sensors have completed phase one SWAT testing. Beta testing of phase two of the protocol is ongoing and nearly complete. The phase two tests are exploring sensor response and control of irrigation in a virtual landscape using real-time weather. Both phase one and two protocols are administered through the Center for Irrigation Technology, an independent testing laboratory, applied research facility and educational resource center based at California State University, Fresno.

Protocols are also available for climate-based controllers.

For more information visit the SWAT page of the IA web site.