Smart Irrigation Month is an Irrigation Association (IA) initiative designed to increase awareness of efficient outdoor water-use practices.
At the root of this initiative is education about water-saving products, practices and services. The Irrigation Association is the leading membership organiza-tion for irrigation companies and professionals. This organ-ization is committed to pro-moting efficient irrigation and to the long-term sustainability of water resources for future generations.
Smart Irrigation Month was launched in 2005 and has gained traction as stakeholders recog-nize the positive impact that efficient irrigation and water use provide. July has been tagged Smart Irrigation Month because it is typically the month of peak demand for outdoor water use. Property owners and managers typically overwater, wasting money and water every time they take out the hose or turn on the sprinklers.
Riley County Extension agent Gregg Eyestone and Cathie Lavis, associate professor and Extension landscape manage-ment specialist, are promoting Smart Irrigation Month by helping people save water and money and see better results on their landscaped properties.
The campaign highlights sim-ple practices and innovative technologies to:
• Educate businesses, home-owners, growers-producers and other users about efficient water use practices;
• Encourage industry firms and professionals to promote smart irrigation practices and technologies;
• Position your organization as a leader in smart water steward-ship;
• Make maintaining green spa-ces easier;
• Minimize overwatering while keeping lawns, gardens and landscapes beautiful and heal-thy.
• Save money on utility bills;
• Help protect community water supplies for today and the future.
The following recommenda-tions will help promote sensible watering practices:
• Plant and maintain low water landscapes suggested by K-State Extension and local landscape companies and gar-den stores for our climate and your soil conditions.
• Work with local landscape irrigation contractors who prac-tice efficient water use when installing and working on irrigation systems.
• When installing a new system or updating your current system, ask your contractor for automatic irrigation controllers that use real-time weather data and soil moisture sensors to automat-ically adjust watering require-ments to meet plant needs.
• Use low volume micro-irri-gation that precisely applies point source water to plants, resulting in minimal loss through evaporation and run-off.
• Retrofit your existing system with a rain sensor that prevents watering in and temporarily after rainy weather.
• Audit your irrigation system to check system operation and to make necessary adjustments that will result in better water use efficiency.
• Visit http://www.smartirrigation-month.org to learn more or contact me.
Cathie Lavis is an associate professor in the Department of Hort-iculture, Forestry and Recreation Resources at KSU.