Smart Irrigation: A Supercomputer Waters the Lawn: Scientific American
With most sprinkler systems, property owners set the traditional controller—basically a timer—to irrigate at specific intervals. Often, too much water is lost to evaporation during hot weather or to runoff during cool weather, which can also carry chemicals into the local watershed or ocean. Because outdoor irrigation can suck up 50 percent or more of urban water consumption, smart irrigation services have caught on in drought-prone western states like California, where water prices are relentlessly rising. (Occasional big floods don’t help the long-term problem.) HydroPoint now has more than 8,000 clients using 24,000 of its smart controllers, including Walmart, Coca-Cola, Hilton, Jack in the Box and the University of Arizona as well as the cities of Charleston, S.C., Houston and Santa Barbara. In 2011 customers are projected to save 64.4 billion liters of water and over $111 million in water expenses, as well as 68 million kilowatt-hours of water-pumping electricity.