As a homeowner, it’s likely that you have counted on your water bill to be one of your most inexpensive utilities. We hate to break it to you – but those days may be long gone. Water costs are increasing faster than any other utility. In fact, according to the Circle of Blue, water costs are up 54% since 2010. For many community associations, water is now the third most expensive line item. Luckily, there are steps you can take to prevent your water bill from coming in higher than your electricity bill.
Pinpointing Water Waste
Since you were a kid, you have probably been told to shut the water off while you brush your teeth and to cut your showers short in order to conserve water. Of course, taking these actions can help you prevent water waste, but according to the U.S. EPA, showers, faucets and toilets only account for 30 to 50 percent of water used. Unlike electricity, in many areas, 50 to 70 percent of total water consumption is outdoors. If those facts aren’t surprising enough, the EPA also says 50 percent of outdoor water usage is wasted. While this is an alarming figure to consider, there are solutions that can help.
The Problems with Traditional Timers
You know that control box with cobwebs hidden behind the bushes or locked away in the utility closet? That’s your sprinkler timer, and it controls your outdoor water usage and water bill. If you haven’t touched it in a while, you’re not alone. Throughout many HOAs and multifamily properties, traditional timer-based irrigation controllers water on fixed weekly schedules and are rarely changed after the initial program. Because of this, controllers tend to over-water by 30 to 60 percent, which harms plants and creates runoff that can cause costly damage to pavement and walkways. The “brain,” or controller in traditional timers lacks the technology to give feedback and options for efficiency or to take into account varying types of plants, sprinklers, soils, slopes, and ever-changing weather conditions, leading to wasted water.
How Smart Irrigation Technology Can Help
Since day one, technology has been making our lives easier. It seems to solve many, if not most, of our problems and it’s no different when it comes to water conservation. Unlike a typical watering schedule that rarely changes, the technology in smart irrigation controllers adjust watering to meet the plants’ varying needs throughout the year. These smart controllers use weather information, like temperature and rainfall amounts, to develop optimum watering schedules for healthy, vibrant plants and turf. By making adjustments every day of the year, rather than occasional changes, smart irrigation controllers can save 30 to 60 percent of water usage, improve plant health and beauty, eliminate runoff, and put an end to watering worries.
If you consider yourself rather tech savvy and would like to go a step further, look into state-of-the-art smart control systems that integrate advanced system diagnostics, measure flow rates to identify breaks, and offer web and mobile access for remote programming, reports, asset tagging, standardized inspection templates, and alert notification.
Advanced technology can be expensive and a little intimidating, however, new capital programs and increasingly affordable options from professional landscaping companies now make smart irrigation controllers within reach of communities of all sizes. Want to learn more about smart irrigation controllers?
To learn how your community can benefit contact Jamie Hahn at Weathermatic via email at Jamie.firstname.lastname@example.org.