U.S. Water News Online
LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- New Mexico State University wants to
test smart sprinklers that could keep New Mexicans from wasting water
NMSU proposed to test several commercial smart irrigation systems
that program themselves and adjust automatically according to monthly
climate data, said state climatologist Ted Sammis.
The idea is to save water and have healthier lawns and landscapes.
"Most people just like to set a system once, be it a sprinkler or
VCR, and leave it, 'cause they're a pain in the neck to program,"
Sammis said. "But with sprinkler systems, that can cause several
Depending on the time of year, the programming can lead to
overwatering or underwatering, he said.
"People tend to set them in summer, then over-irrigate in the
spring and fall," Sammis said. "Or instead they set them at a lesser
level to make watering affordable, but they end up stressing their
trees and killing them."
The study awaits final approval. The tests, expected to start in
the next three months and last for a year, would check the efficiency
of smart sprinklers compared with regular sprinklers, said Rolston
St. Hilaire, a landscape specialist at NMSU.
"We expect that with smart sprinklers homeowners will get
healthier lawns and landscapes with less time and effort, and we also
expect overall to get more water savings," St. Hilaire said.
Smart systems cost about $750, Sammis said. They run through a
wireless paging system, which carry monthly subscriber costs of about
$4, or hook into a personal computer so the owner can monitor the
systems without programming them through a clunky interface, he said.
"So far it looks like with these systems you can get water savings
of as much as 25 percent or 30 percent," Sammis said. "That's pretty
Proof that such systems save water could help a push to create
rebates for homeowners who add such smart systems, Sammis said.
Without a rebate and based only on the cost of water, a smart
system probably wouldn't pay for itself for 10 to 12 years, he said.
"But if you base the cost on the fact that your landscaping costs
go up when you don't manage your watering, you could get that money
back pretty quick," Sammis said.
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