Irrigation methods have come a long way from attaching a sprinkler to a hose, turning on the water, and literally forgetting about it. Irrigation is about controlling and scheduling water application. According to the Irrigation Association, up to thirty percent (30%) of irrigation water may be saved from evaporation by setting watering schedules from late afternoon to before sunrise.
Some newer technologies offer more control, resulting in better results while using less water and reducing operating costs. The use of smart controllers and drip irrigation offers promising benefits for the sandy nature of our soil, which does tend to make irrigation water disappear quickly. In fact, according to the Residential Weather-Based Irrigation Scheduling - The Irvine ET Controller Study, the use of smart controllers can produce savings of thirty-seven (37) gallons per day for an average single-family home. Similar studies show savings for water run-off, and commercial usage of such systems. Visit the Bureau of Land Reclamation's website for more information.
In short, smart controllers use technologies from the agricultural world, based upon evapotranspiration (ET) and local weather, ET is a crop science term for the rate at which water leaves soil and plants from evaporation. After initial setup for an area, smart controllers do not require future adjustments.