Irrigation is the application of a controlled amount of water to a specified area. There are many reasons for irrigation but for our purposes it is primarily to maintain landscapes. Irrigation for landscape since its beginning has been largely inefficient. Why try to save water when there was plenty of it and it was very inexpensive. Decades passed by with most residential landscapes dumping water down the street with pollutants along for the ride. Professional irrigators and large commercial irrigated properties were really the only people watching the water use because it was a large amount of money overall. I experienced this personally as when I was just a kid growing up in an ornamental plant nursery I wasn’t allowed to wash of the driveway. I had to sweep it. Not because water was scarce but because it was one of our families largest bills every month. We irrigated very carefully so we did not waste. Turns out being efficient with what we had was really the right thing to do anyways. Sustainability, ecologically friendly and good steward are a few key terms that come to mind now thinking of how I grew up. This is how I still think. It was molded into my life by my father who had a keen sense for doing things right and I am proud to carry on what he held so high in his daily life. Anyways, back to irrigation. So over the years droughts came along and pushed water conservation. This in turn pushed water rates up and then technology started to really get involved.
This is a whole other story in itself but I’ll touch on it lightly here. Efficiency was a key item but before that was simple human behavior. When you see irrigation running during a rainfall it just doesn’t seem to make sense. Usually it really doesn’t. So a large part of taking the human factor out the equation was a rain sensor. This at least would shut down the controller after it sensed enough moisture. This was a nice start. Then things got worse. More drought and even worse more politics. Water was not getting to Southern California like it used to and the usage was steadily rising. Water restrictions came again and most of us who were paying attention tried to save even more. This was hard to do when we were already deficit irrigating. (Watering less than required for normal plant growth) So then the tech takes center stage. “Smart” controllers was all the buzz to further reduce the human factor. It made an impact. A small one but an impact none the less. They made an attempt to modify run-times with the current weather and some even made suggestions on watering schedules according to site conditions. This was good technology that was not well understood and an a way failed because the end user was not an engineer. Over time that has been solved by better software and more trial and error. So here we are today with smart controller and advanced nozzles and drip products to help us irrigate responsibly. Question is will you join the efforts to do your part in being good stewards to the earth and our offspring.