2nd UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Michael Dukes
Session Name Poster Session: Human Dimensions of Water Sustainability 2
Category Human dimensions of water sustainability
Poster Number 103
Author(s) Melissa Baum Haley,  University of Florida
  Michael Dukes,  University of Florida
  Evaluation of Sensor Based Residential Irrigation Water Application on Homes in Florida
  A residential irrigation study to determine the effects of sensor-based irrigation on residential in-ground irrigation water application in Southwest Florida will be presented. The primary objective of this project was to determine if an automatic irrigation system in the residential environment, when receiving feedback from a bypass sensor could reduce irrigation water application while maintaining acceptable turfgrass quality. Research conducted on actual homes (n=58) in Pinellas County, FL. Experimental treatments evaluated were (1) automatic time based irrigation set and operated by the cooperator, (2) an automatic timer with the integration of a soil moisture sensor, (3) an automatic timer with a rain sensor, and (4) an automatic timer with a rain sensor along with educational materials including a run time schedule given to the cooperator. Outdoor water use, semi-annual turf quality ratings, and weather data was collected for the homes over a 26-month period. In addition to elapsed weekly irrigation water use, hourly use was recorded and fraction of total household use (indoor vs. outdoor) was calculated. The total cumulative savings were calculated compared to the meter only treatment. The soil moisture sensor treatment yielded the greatest savings; with 65% less water applied for irrigation than the meter only treatment. Although the rain sensor plus educational materials treatment initially showed substantial savings the saving were not as great during the second year of data collection, the total average irrigation savings was 45%. Lastly, the rain sensor treatment yielded a 14% savings over the MO treatment. These results were similar to what was found in associated the plot study. Results presented include irrigation water application cumulative and event reduction based on experimental treatment. Irrigation practices relative to plant-water needs as determined through a soil water balance, and watering day compliance observations.