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Weather-Based irrigation Controllers and Why You Need One
July, 2014 - Issue #117
Approximately 70percent of a typical Santa Clarita Valley water bill is for water used outdoors with the vast majority used for landscape irrigation. Improving irrigation efficiency can reduce water waste and will often improve the quality of the landscape.

Most irrigation systems have remote control valves which control the water flow to the sprinklers. These valves are automated by a controller programmed to turn the valves (and sprinklers) on for specified durations of time on certain days and times.

Unfortunately, when and how long sprinklers should run is a moving target. It changes throughout the year along with the seasons and the weather patterns. Oftentimes, people do not reprogram their controllers as the weather changes and this results in wasted water. (How many times have you seen sprinklers running in the rain?)

"Typical SCV soil has a lot of clay
in it and absorbs water slowly.
The WBIC accommodates for this by RUNNING THE SPRINKLERS through a few very-short cycles, allowing water to infiltrate the soil before more is applied."
Weather Based Irrigation Controllers (WBICs), or smart controllers, use local data like temperature, humidity and length of daylight to account for changes in the weather and seasons, then they adjust the sprinkler valve programming automatically. WBICs can vary by manufacturer in the exact technology used for determining weather data, but almost all adjust the amount of landscape water distributed on a daily basis.

In addition to weather, WBICs are programmed according to the type of plants being watered, the type of sprinkler (or drip irrigation) being used, the type of soil and geographical features like slopes. Calculating this information, the controller determines how often and how long the sprinklers should run. The automated daily sprinkler programming adjusts for everything from heat waves to rain storms - applying the correct amount of water under all conditions.

The WBIC's advanced features account for soil types and slopes, which allow the controller to run the sprinklers so plants receive the correct amount of water while also greatly reducing water waste due to runoff. Typical SCV soil has a lot of clay in it and absorbs water slowly. The WBIC accommodates for this by running the sprinklers through a few very short cycles allowing water to infiltrate the soil before more is applied.

WBIC technology is something residents should definitely consider as a way to increase landscape sprinkler efficiency. Water is too precious to waste.

To get a WBIC you must register for an online class. Visit www.clwa.org and click on the Smart Irrigation Controller Rebate button.
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