Irrigation tech making work easier for superintendents

By |  September 7, 2011

In case you missed yesterday’s “Inside Irrigation” e-newsletter, here is the story, penned by Golfdom senior editor Beth Geraci:

“When you’re wasting water–watering when it’s raining and those sort of things, it’s very visible,” says Keith Shepersky, Senior Product and Marketing Manager for Irritrol, which in February released its Climate Logic accessory, a wireless smart controller that adjusts water run times based on weather conditions.

Fortunately for today’s irrigators and water conservationists, we don’t water as much when it’s raining anymore. That’s because for superintendents and others, irrigation is becoming easier to control remotely. Superintendents now can turn their sprinklers on and off from the office or install sensors that trigger water only when it’s needed. And word of their usefulness is spreading.

“Advances in communications technology now allow access to irrigation systems remotely, from anywhere in the world,” explains Jeff Kremicki, CID, CIC, Hunter Industries’ Product Marketing Manager. Today, he says, “a controller can be connected to a customer’s computer via a network, Internet or cellular connection providing customers complete access to the irrigation scheduling while receiving feedback from the control system as to the status and alerting them to any problems on site.”

Ultimately, says Shepersky, “what smart controllers are doing for the end user is they’re saving water, and water is getting more precious to us every season.”

One look at today’s more uniform nozzles and sprinkler heads and you can see progress, says Jeffrey Knight, Central Region Education Manager and Instructor at Ewing Irrigation. “And that translates into water savings.”

Things like soil moisture sensors, improved nozzles and smart controllers do more than conserve water, says Adolpho Meza, Product Manager, Contract Controllers, for Rain Bird. They save customers time and money and enable irrigation professionals to reduce maintenance visits.

If there’s any flaw in irrigation’s new technology at all, says Meza, it’s that those who use them must “use them appropriately to obtain the desired results. Along with new technologies should come an understanding of these products and how to use them to gain the ultimate benefit.”

Meza says Rain Bird’s irrigation products are geared toward efficient water use, including its ESP-SMT smart control system; pressure-regulating sprinklers, rotors and valves; and high-efficiency sprinkler and rotor nozzles.

Hunter’s Kremicki, who says the company will release a wireless irrigation sensor in the near future, points to the increasing use of flow sensors, which “actively monitor irrigation system flow and demands, providing the customer with feedback and protection to the site when irrigation system problems, such as overflow conditions, occur.”

Irrigation technology will only continue to progress, says Shepersky, because “essentially we don’t get more water than the Earth already has.”

— Beth Geraci, senior editor

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