October 2015

Welcome to SprinklerWork’s first issue of WaterMatters, our monthly newsletter about water, water conservation and irrigation. Every issue of WaterMatters will feature an informative article about water and how it relates to a beautiful landscape. Future issues will include what we at SprinklerWorks are doing to promote water conservation in the landscape along with information about water saving techniques and products. Our goal is to educate the reader on how these techniques and products can be used on any irrigation system to help improve its overall efficiency and performance. Each month we will also feature a coupon with a discount on a product or service to help you save money and water.



SprinklerWorks recently completed a month long evaluation of the entire irrigation system at Sarasota National Cemetery for The National Cemetery Administration (NCA). During this evaluation we were asked to identify any system problems and to make recommendations to improve upon the current system. The mission of the NCA is to honor our veterans with a final resting place and lasting memorials that commemorate their service to our nation. At SprinklerWorks we are very proud of the fact that we were chosen based upon merit, not low bid, to help the NCA achieve this goal.


Water conservation in the landscape is not just about saving water. More importantly it is about protecting our environment, promoting a healthy landscape and doing our part to help conserve the resource. Too much water in the landscape reduces the amount of oxygen in the soil necessary for healthy plant growth, causes root rot and stimulates fungal growth. Plants living in saturated soils do not develop a strong deep root system and become dependent upon a constant shallow supply of water. When the shallow water dries up these plants go into shock immediately because they are not acclimated to handle dry conditions. Excessive watering also leaches expensive fertilizers and pesticides out of the landscape, where we want them, and out into our bays and waterways where they can have a disastrous effect on our environment. Less water on the other hand encourages deep healthy root system and plants that are much more drought tolerant than their overwatered cousins. One of the best ways to improve upon the overall health and appearance of the landscape is to allow the soil to dry out between watering. As humans we tend to think that more is better, but in the case of irrigating your landscape less is almost always better.


One of the newest developments to hit the light commercial and residential irrigation markets are ET, weather based, “smart controllers”. The technology was originally developed for large scale agricultural irrigation systems and has slowly filtered its way down through golf courses and larger commercial projects to the average consumer. This has been in part due to the high demand for water saving products. ET stands for evaporation/transpiration and is a measurement of the amount of moisture lost from the soil each day due to evaporation and transpiration (through, or used, by plants). Smart controllers use five pieces of current weather information (wind speed, solar radiation, humidity, temperature and rainfall) to calculate the ET rate for each zone in an irrigation system and then adjust the run time daily to replace the lost moisture. With a conventional irrigation time clock we set the day and time (water window) we want the system to run, and then set each zone for the length of time we think is appropriate. When programming an ET based controller the user sets the water window but instead of setting the zone run times we provide the controller with basic information about the irrigation system for each zone, the type of plants we are watering and the environmental factors for each zone. Based upon this information, and the calculated ET rate, the controller determines the precise run time for every zone. If we have cool, overcast, high humidity days the system will run less than if we had bright skies, high temperatures and dry windy days. “Smart controllers” typically reduce irrigation water consumption by 30% to 60% and take all of the guess work out of setting your irrigation controller.