What is a smart irrigation controller?
An smart irrigation controller is an irrigation device that automatically adjusts watering according to local weather conditions. For example, when it rains, smart irrigation controllers will reduce or turn off irrigation to conserve water. Your smart irrigation controller has access to local weather data from weather stations located on a network of schools in Darwin, Palmerston and rural areas, called the Weather Network.
How does it work？
It works by automatically adjusting the amount of water you water based on the weather trigger you input on the controller. This is great for saving water and, if you type in the right triggers, it will also make your garden healthier. It’s important to keep a close eye on your garden and adjust the triggers if your garden seems thirsty or flooded.
Smart irrigation controllers include an online portal that you can access on your computer or via an app on your smart phone or tablet, allowing you to easily adjust your irrigation from anywhere in the world! Some smart irrigation controllers also include flow meters and other smart technology that will alert you of any leaks in your irrigation system.
There are varying levels of ‘smartness’ in smart irrigation controllers that you should be aware of when switching to or setting up a smart irrigation system. Talk to your preferred irrigation professional for up to date advice.
A smart irrigation controller reads online weather data and responds via pre-set weather triggers. These triggers are set by yourself or a local irrigation expert via a web portal or app. Here are a couple of example triggers:
Turn off irrigation when it rains over 10mm
Decrease irrigation by 50% when it rains over 5mm
Increase irrigation if forecast temperature is over 35 degrees
Suspend watering if wind speeds over 50km/hr are forecast
What are the benefits of a smart irrigation controller?
As we all become busier in our daily lives, technology such as smart controllers can help intelligently automate what can sometimes be a confusing and complicated task. Rather than adjusting our irrigation on a weekly, fortnightly, bi-annual or just annual basis, smart controllers will automatically adjust every day based on localised weather information (primarily rainfall, temperature, wind and evaporation). This will reduce water use by at least 20% which will save you money!
Whilst it is easy to see the effects of under-watering, it is often not so easy to see the effects of over-watering. Yet the negative effects can be just as detrimental to your garden with shallow rooted plants and the continual run-off means wasted water and nutrients down the drain.
Another benefit is the easy and accessible app or web portal function that can be accessed via a tablet, smartphone or computer from anywhere in the world!
Smart controllers have additional capabilities such as flow monitoring, zone shutdown and email/SMS alerts for leaks and broken pipes (great for those night time irrigation faults that can go unnoticed). There are also faulty wiring alerts for valve malfunctions which are a common cause of hard to find leaks within irrigation systems.