Smart Irrigation Controllers:
Water Conservation Potential

   Michael D. Dukes, Ph.D., P.E.
          Agricultural & Biol...
Irrigation is a Standard “Appliance”
Irrigation is a Standard “Appliance”
SMS TESTING ON
BERMUDAGRASS PLOTS
12' × 12'
SMS Testing Bermudagrass, Gainesville

• 1 d/wk four brands SMS
• 2 d/wk four brands SMS 3 SMS frequencies
• 7 d/wk four b...
IFAS Recommended Irrigation Run Times


         Weekly      Monthly

        Irrigation   Irrigation

        (inches)   ...
IFAS Irrigation Recommendations - Tables
SMS Testing Bermudagrass, Gainesville

• 1 d/wk four brands SMS
• 2 d/wk four brands SMS
• 7 d/wk four brands SMS
• Time 2...
Acclima         Rain Bird




Irrometer   Water Watcher
1

SMS Controllers
 in Experiment

1: Sensor
   Controllers
2:Timer
                      2
Expanding
Disk Rain
Sensor
TQ RATINGS (1 to 9 scale)

3                       4




5                       7
Water Savings 2004+05,
    Normal Rainfall Frequency
  Treatment           TOTAL Savings compared to
                     ...
Turfgrass Quality
Water savings 2006
            Dry Conditions
  Treatment           TOTAL Savings compared to
                        (in)...
Conclusions

• Rain sensor ¼”  34% savings normal rainfall
  frequency; 13% savings dry weather
Conclusions

• Rain sensor ¼”  34% savings normal rainfall
  frequency; 13% savings dry weather
• SMS savings: 72% rainy ...
Conclusions

• Rain sensor ¼”  34% savings normal rainfall
  frequency; 13% savings dry weather
• SMS savings: 72% rainy ...
SMS/ET Controllers 2006-08, Drought
                    Conditions
                                             St. August...
Irrigation Savings Compared to a Time
                                 Schedule No Rain Sensor
                         80...
Soil Moisture Sensors




                        X
             X
                         Water
                        ...
Base Line




LawnLogic
SMS & RS TESTING ON
COOPERATING HOMES,
   PINELLAS CO.
Experimental Design
• 59 residential cooperating
  homes
    4 locations
      • 4 treatments
Treatments

•   SMS, Current irrigation system without rain sensor
    and with a soil moisture sensor controller

•   EDU...
Pinellas County Homes, Irrigation
         Nov 06 – Dec 08
                                  70                           ...
Pinellas County Homes, Irrigation
             Nov 06 – Dec 08
                                      70                   ...
Irrigation Frequency
            (# Irrig. Events per Month)

Treatment      Mean       Std. Dev.      Max         Min
   ...
Meter Only Home (not in compliance)                                                                                       ...
200                                                                   0                                                   ...
ET CONTROLLER TESTING,
   HILLSBOROUGH CO.
ET Controller Study
       GCREC Hillsborough County
• Three ET controllers: T1, T2, T3
   Weathermatic, Smartline SL800
...
GCREC Plot plan
GCREC Rainfall

                        25                                                                          2006-2...
ET Controller Conclusions Summary
• Water Savings Compared to Time (no RS)

• ET controllers
  • 43% average annual
  • 60...
But will ET controllers work in the real
                world?!




    Residential study in Hillsborough County…
   • 38...
ET Controller Initial Data, SW Fla.
                                                    Two Sites
                        ...
Smart Irrigation Controller Irrigation
               Reduction Potential
Method           Location                Irrigat...
The Answer is NOT Only Smart Controllers

• Smart Controllers have water conservation
  potential but….
The Answer is NOT Only Smart Controllers

• Smart Controllers have water conservation
  potential but….

• Target “high” w...
Irrigation Savings Potential
                         80
                                                                 ...
So, What’s the Silver Bullet in
  Smart Irrigation Control?
BLANK SLIDE
Soil Moisture Sensors

• Advantages
   Inexpensive, for smaller sites with “lumped”
    hydrozones
   Simple programming...
ET Controllers

• Advantages
   No wires to bury
   Programming matches irrigation theory
   Two way communication in s...
PAYBACK EXAMPLE
Payback Period, Irrigation Meter
Assumes 50% irrigation efficiency; JEA 2009 costs; total annual irrigation of 43”; 50% sa...
Irrigation applied, Irrigation Meter
                               Assumes 50% irrigation efficiency; JEA 2009 costs; tot...
Payback Period, Potable+Sewer
Assumes 50% irrigation efficiency; JEA 2009 costs; total annual irrigation of 43”; 50% savin...
See Videos & Narrated Power Point
• http://irrigation.ifas.ufl.edu
• Video
     Irrigation controllers
     Rain sensors...
Thank you!
 Southwest Florida Water Management District, Pinellas Co.
Utilities, St. Johns River Water Management District...
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Michael Dukes Irrigation

  1. 1. Smart Irrigation Controllers: Water Conservation Potential Michael D. Dukes, Ph.D., P.E. Agricultural & Biological Engineering Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) Utah Green Industry Conference Salt Lake City, UT, Jan 26, 2010
  2. 2. Irrigation is a Standard “Appliance”
  3. 3. Irrigation is a Standard “Appliance”
  4. 4. SMS TESTING ON BERMUDAGRASS PLOTS
  5. 5. 12' × 12'
  6. 6. SMS Testing Bermudagrass, Gainesville • 1 d/wk four brands SMS • 2 d/wk four brands SMS 3 SMS frequencies • 7 d/wk four brands SMS • Time 2 d/wk with rain sensor • 60% of time 2 d/wk with rain sensor • Time 2 d/wk without rain sensor Comparisons • Non-irrigated
  7. 7. IFAS Recommended Irrigation Run Times Weekly Monthly Irrigation Irrigation (inches) (inches) Jan 0.04 0.16 Feb 0.00 0.00 Mar 0.09 0.34 Apr 0.49 1.98 May 0.84 3.34 Jun 0.75 3.00 Jul 0.70 2.79 Aug 0.64 2.57 Sep 0.82 3.28 Oct 0.54 2.15 Nov 0.34 1.34 Dec 0.13 0.52 Total 21.5
  8. 8. IFAS Irrigation Recommendations - Tables
  9. 9. SMS Testing Bermudagrass, Gainesville • 1 d/wk four brands SMS • 2 d/wk four brands SMS • 7 d/wk four brands SMS • Time 2 d/wk with rain sensor (100% IFAS) • 60% of time 2 d/wk with rain sensor (60% IFAS) • Time 2 d/wk without rain sensor • Non-irrigated
  10. 10. Acclima Rain Bird Irrometer Water Watcher
  11. 11. 1 SMS Controllers in Experiment 1: Sensor Controllers 2:Timer 2
  12. 12. Expanding Disk Rain Sensor
  13. 13. TQ RATINGS (1 to 9 scale) 3 4 5 7
  14. 14. Water Savings 2004+05, Normal Rainfall Frequency Treatment TOTAL Savings compared to (in) 2-WOS (%) 2-WOS 59.6 0 SMS Based Avg 16.5 72 1-d/w 16.5 b 72 2-d/w 18.8 a 68 7-d/w 14.3 c 76 WOS = without sensor Avg = average SMS = soil moisture sensor
  15. 15. Turfgrass Quality
  16. 16. Water savings 2006 Dry Conditions Treatment TOTAL Savings compared to (in) 2-WOS (%) 2-WOS 25.9 0 SMS Based Avg 11.9 54 1-d/w 14.9 a 43 2-d/w 11.7 b 55 7-d/w 9.2 c 64 WOS = without sensor Avg = average SMS = soil moisture sensor
  17. 17. Conclusions • Rain sensor ¼”  34% savings normal rainfall frequency; 13% savings dry weather
  18. 18. Conclusions • Rain sensor ¼”  34% savings normal rainfall frequency; 13% savings dry weather • SMS savings: 72% rainy weather; 54% dry weather, >2 times more than an RS
  19. 19. Conclusions • Rain sensor ¼”  34% savings normal rainfall frequency; 13% savings dry weather • SMS savings: 72% rainy weather; 54% dry weather, >2 times more than an RS • SMS controllers can minimize irrigation and maintain turf quality in dry weather
  20. 20. SMS/ET Controllers 2006-08, Drought Conditions St. Augustinegrass testing ongoing since March 2006 72 plots 18 treatments & 4 replicates A: Rain Sensors B: Soil Moisture Sensor & ET Controllers Photo May 2006, M.L. Shedd
  21. 21. Irrigation Savings Compared to a Time Schedule No Rain Sensor 80 72 70 59 60 Irrigation Savings (%) 54 50 39 40 Gainesville Citra 30 20 10 0 Normal rainfall Dry conditions
  22. 22. Soil Moisture Sensors X X Water Watcher Rain Bird Irrometer Acclima
  23. 23. Base Line LawnLogic
  24. 24. SMS & RS TESTING ON COOPERATING HOMES, PINELLAS CO.
  25. 25. Experimental Design • 59 residential cooperating homes  4 locations • 4 treatments
  26. 26. Treatments • SMS, Current irrigation system without rain sensor and with a soil moisture sensor controller • EDU+RS, Current irrigation system with rain sensor & seasonal run time guidelines • RS, Current irrigation system with rain sensor • WOS, Current irrigation system without a sensor
  27. 27. Pinellas County Homes, Irrigation Nov 06 – Dec 08 70 0 62 a 2 60 54 a 4 Monthly Effective Precipitation (inches) Irrigation Application (inches) 50 6 8 40 34 a 10 30 12 22 b 14 20 16 10 18 0 20 Nov-06 Feb-07 May-07 Sep-07 Dec-07 Mar-08 Jul-08 Oct-08 Jan-09 Effective Rainfall SMS EDU+RS RS WOS
  28. 28. Pinellas County Homes, Irrigation Nov 06 – Dec 08 70 0 62 a 2 60 54 a 4 Monthly Effective Precipitation (inches) Irrigation Application (inches) 50 6 8 40 34 a 10 30 12 22 b 14 20 65% 16 10 18 0 20 Nov-06 Feb-07 May-07 Sep-07 Dec-07 Mar-08 Jul-08 Oct-08 Jan-09 Effective Rainfall SMS EDU+RS RS WOS
  29. 29. Irrigation Frequency (# Irrig. Events per Month) Treatment Mean Std. Dev. Max Min (#/month) (#/month) (#/month) (#/month) SMS 2.1 b 2.8 11 0 EDU+RS 3.6 ab 4.1 20 0 RS 4.7 a 5.6 22 0 WOS 5.2 a 6.5 29 0
  30. 30. Meter Only Home (not in compliance) Meter Only Home (in compliance) 1.2 0.0 1.2 0.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 Irrigation Application (inches/day) Irrigation Application (inches/day) Precipitation (inches/day) Precipitation (inches/day) 0.8 2.0 0.8 2.0 0.6 3.0 0.6 3.0 0.4 4.0 0.4 4.0 0.2 5.0 0.2 5.0 0.0 6.0 0.0 6.0 May-08 Jun-08 Jul-08 Aug-08 Sep-08 May-08 Jun-08 Jul-08 Aug-08 Sep-08 Rain Sensor Home Soil Moisture Sensor Home 1.2 0.0 1.2 0.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 Irrigation Application (inches/day) Irrigation Application (inches/day) Precipitation (inches/day) Precipitation (inches/day) 0.8 2.0 0.8 2.0 0.6 3.0 0.6 3.0 0.4 4.0 0.4 4.0 0.2 5.0 0.2 5.0 0.0 6.0 0.0 6.0 May-08 Jun-08 Jul-08 Aug-08 Sep-08 May-08 Jun-08 Jul-08 Aug-08 Sep-08
  31. 31. 200 0 200 0 180 180 160 50 160 50 Monthly Precipitation (mm) Monthly Precipitation (mm) Irrigation Application (mm) Irrigation Application (mm) 140 SMS 140 RS 120 100 Homes 100 120 100 Homes 100 80 150 80 150 60 60 40 200 40 200 20 20 0 250 0 250 Effective Rainfall Avg. Irr. Applied (SMS) Calculated Irr. Need Effective Rainfall Avg. Irr. Applied (RS) Calculated Irr. Need 200 0 200 0 180 180 160 50 160 50 Monthly Precipitation (mm) Monthly Precipitation (mm) Irrigation Application (mm) Irrigation Application (mm) 140 120 Meter 100 140 120 RS + 100 100 Only 100 Edu. 80 Homes 150 80 Homes 150 60 60 40 200 40 200 20 20 0 250 0 250 Effective Rainfall Avg. Irr. Applied (MO) Calculated Irr. Need Effective Rainfall Avg. Irr. Applied (EDU) Calculated Irr. Need
  32. 32. ET CONTROLLER TESTING, HILLSBOROUGH CO.
  33. 33. ET Controller Study GCREC Hillsborough County • Three ET controllers: T1, T2, T3  Weathermatic, Smartline SL800  Toro, Intellisense TIS-612OD  ETwater, Smart Controller 100 • T4: Timeclock with RS • T5: 60% of T4
  34. 34. GCREC Plot plan
  35. 35. GCREC Rainfall 25 2006-2007 100 Historical Mean 90 91.2 Cumulative 2006-2007 Cumulative Rainfall (in) 20 80 Monthly Rainfall (in) Cumulative Historical 70 16.0 71.2 15 60 50 10 8.8 40 8.3 8.3 8.8 8.4 8.0 7.5 8.4 7.5 6.6 30 6.5 6.0 4.9 5.1 5 3.7 4.0 20 3.0 3.1 2.9 2.9 3.2 3.0 2.5 2.4 2.7 1.8 2.1 2.2 10 1.4 1.1 0.8 0.6 0.0 0 0 May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Month (2006-2007)
  36. 36. ET Controller Conclusions Summary • Water Savings Compared to Time (no RS) • ET controllers • 43% average annual • 60% winter • Rain sensor (RS), 21% • Reduced time w/ RS treatment, 53% • No relationship between water application and turfgrass quality. More potential savings?
  37. 37. But will ET controllers work in the real world?! Residential study in Hillsborough County… • 38 residential cooperators in Hillsborough Co. o 21 homes have an ET controller o 17 homes are a comparison group • All volunteers are moderate to high water users
  38. 38. ET Controller Initial Data, SW Fla. Two Sites 10 Cumulative Average Irrigation Applied 9 Comparison ET Controllers 8 Historical Comparison 7 Historical ET Controllers 6 ~50% 5 (in) 4 3 2 1 0 9/26 10/10 10/24 11/7 11/21 12/5 12/19 1/2 1/16 Date (2008-2009)
  39. 39. Smart Irrigation Controller Irrigation Reduction Potential Method Location Irrigation Weather Funding Savings agency Time clock Homes in Central adjustment w/ 30% Normal to rainy SJRWMD Fla. rain sensor Rain sensor Plots in Gainesville 34% Normal to rainy SWFWMD 15% Dry Soil moisture Plots in Gainesville 70-90% Normal to rainy SWFWMD sensor control Plots in Up to 40% Dry Gainesville/Citra Homes in Pinellas Co. 65% Dry (1 d/wk) SWFWMD Plots in Hillsborough Hillsborough ET controllers Up to 60% ~Normal Co. Co./FDACS Up to 40% Dry Homes in ~50% Dry (ET, variance) Hillsborough Co. (initially)
  40. 40. The Answer is NOT Only Smart Controllers • Smart Controllers have water conservation potential but….
  41. 41. The Answer is NOT Only Smart Controllers • Smart Controllers have water conservation potential but…. • Target “high” water users • Must be implemented with hands on training of contractors • Ongoing certification/verification program should be implemented
  42. 42. Irrigation Savings Potential 80 Rainy 70 Dry Irrigation Savings (%) 60 50 40 30 20 No data No data No data 10 0 Time Clock Rain Sensor Soil Soil ET ET Adjustment Moisture Moisture Controller, Controller, Sensor, Sensor, plots homes plots homes
  43. 43. So, What’s the Silver Bullet in Smart Irrigation Control?
  44. 44. BLANK SLIDE
  45. 45. Soil Moisture Sensors • Advantages  Inexpensive, for smaller sites with “lumped” hydrozones  Simple programming of SMS controller  Integrates on site rainfall • Disadvantages  Burying wires  Not all sensors are accurate under variety of conditions  Programming time clock runtimes correctly
  46. 46. ET Controllers • Advantages  No wires to bury  Programming matches irrigation theory  Two way communication in some cases • Disadvantages  Steep programming learning curve (depends on device)  Costly for “simple” sites  Ongoing fees for some  Replaces the existing and functional timer
  47. 47. PAYBACK EXAMPLE
  48. 48. Payback Period, Irrigation Meter Assumes 50% irrigation efficiency; JEA 2009 costs; total annual irrigation of 43”; 50% savings $4,000 3.0 ac $3,500 2.5 ac $3,000 2.0 ac $2,500 Irrigation Savings $2,000 1.5 ac $1,500 $500 1.0 ac installed $1,000 cost, one SMS 0.5 ac controller $500 0.25 ac $0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Month
  49. 49. Irrigation applied, Irrigation Meter Assumes 50% irrigation efficiency; JEA 2009 costs; total annual irrigation of 43” 4,000 3.0 ac 3,500 3,000 2.5 ac Landscape Irrigation (kgal) 2,500 2.0 ac 2,000 1.5 ac 1,500 1.0 ac 1,000 0.5 ac 500 0.25 ac 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Month
  50. 50. Payback Period, Potable+Sewer Assumes 50% irrigation efficiency; JEA 2009 costs; total annual irrigation of 43”; 50% savings $12,000 3.0 ac $10,000 2.5 ac $8,000 2.0 ac Irrigation Savings $6,000 1.5 ac $4,000 1.0 ac $500 installed 0.5 ac $2,000 cost, one SMS 0.25 ac controller $0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Month
  51. 51. See Videos & Narrated Power Point • http://irrigation.ifas.ufl.edu • Video  Irrigation controllers  Rain sensors  Soil moisture controllers  Weather based (ET) controllers  Smart Water App. Tech. (virtual turf field day) • Narrated ppts  ET controllers  Irrigation scheduling  Irrigation components  Irrigation myth busters  Soil moisture sensor controllers
  52. 52. Thank you! Southwest Florida Water Management District, Pinellas Co. Utilities, St. Johns River Water Management District, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Hillsborough Co. Water Dept., Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Assoc., Florida Turfgrass Assoc., Florida Sod Growers Co-op. mddukes@ufl.edu http://irrigation.ifas.ufl.edu
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