October 15, 2014
This summer the Irrigation Sector Group ran a promotion for Smart Watering Month, encouraging irrigation professionals to submit examples of their water-saving work.

Smart Watering Systems (SWS) of Milton responded to the promotion with over 20 irrigation control system upgrades, which allowed clients to benefit from regular evapotranspiration (ET) system adjustments. “This resulted in weather data inputs, remote monitoring for system failures and inconsistencies, and pre-rain event shut down when rainfall is forecast,” says SWS owner Chris Le Conte.  

SWS also implemented many system upgrades to improve irrigation performance, and reduce irrigation water use. These upgrades included drip irrigation conversions from over spraying spray sprinklers, infrastructure improvements to improve performance efficiencies, and sprinkler change-out improvements to water efficient sprinklers and nozzles.

It resulted in an irrigation watering schedule that can be adjusted according to weather changes and landscape requirement, instead of watering whether the landscape needs it or not.
Other initiatives by SWS for Smart Irrigation Month, were two ‘lunch and learns’ for landscape architecture firms located in the Greater Toronto Area. “The lunch and learns illustrated the amount and dollar cost of the drinking water applied to landscapes in the GTA, highlighted poor installation and maintenance practices that contribute to water waste, and demonstrated many opportunities for landscape irrigation water conservation,” says Le Conte.

In June, SWS was hired by the City of London to manage a pilot program to analyze and report on the water savings potential on existing landscape irrigation systems within the city.
“Like many municipalities in Ontario, the City of London wants to improve management of summer peak water demand, optimize their existing water supply infrastructure, and contribute to environmental sustainability,” says Le Conte.

A key element of this initiative is to engage the local irrigation contracting community to identify irrigation system owners among their client base who can benefit from the information gathered by a free irrigation performance assessment paid for by the City of London. The City of London hopes that once irrigation system owners become aware of how much their current irrigation water use contributes to their operations costs, and they are provided with an analysis of the potential water and cost savings, they will allocate funds for system improvements to conserve water.

On July 16 and in conjunction with Smart Irrigation Month, SWS hosted an irrigation contractor program orientation meeting at City Hall in London. Nine local companies and representatives from the City of London’s Water Services Department were in attendance to learn about the objectives of the pilot program, their crucial role in its success, and the substantial opportunity for water savings that exists within existing landscape irrigation systems.

Irrigation performance assessments began in August to encourage irrigation system owners to implement some system improvements. These improved systems will be reassessed to determine the actual impact of the measures taken.

Once all of the site work is complete, SWS will submit a report to the City of London documenting the performance assessment findings, the conservation measures implemented, and recommendations for going forward with irrigation water conservation incentive programs. The pilot program will wrap-up in late fall with a delivery of the report to the participants of the pilot program and those participants will be asked for their input.