Date of Award:
Master of Science (MS)
Plants, Soils, and Climate
Residential and commercial landscapes provide home and business owners with several benefits. These benefits range from improved air quality and flood control to the reduction of noise and breakdown of organic chemicals. However, these landscapes are routinely overwatered which can lead to plant disease, nutrient pollution, and large amounts of water being wasted. Utah State University, in conjunction with the Center for Water Efficient Landscaping (CWEL), the Utah Division of Natural Resources and Weber Basin Water Conservancy District, conducted an experiment to determine if Wi-Fi-enabled smart irrigation controllers conserve water as compared to average residential irrigation amounts and manually programmed controllers.
A two-year study was completed at the Utah State University Greenville Research Farm in Logan, Utah. The three different Wi-Fi-enabled controllers tested were selected because of their inclusion in a state-wide rebate program to incentivize residents to save water. Average residential irrigation amounts were determined based on thousands of water audits performed by the USU Extension Water Check Program. The manually programmed irrigation controller was selected based on local availability and distributor recommendations.
When compared to the average residential irrigation amounts in the state of Utah, Wi-Fi-enabled irrigation controllers applied significantly less water. When compared to the manually programmed irrigation controllers (programmed according to USU Extension recommendations), the highest performing Wi-Fi-enabled irrigation controller applied similar amounts of water.
Evans, Shane R., "Effects of Wi-Fi-Enabled Smart Irrigation Controllers on Water Use and Plant Health of Residential Landscapes in the Intermountain West" (2020). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 7920.
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