NORTH SALT LAKE — Smartphones can help us do a lot, including control things remotely from pretty much anywhere.
Now, this ability could help people save more water, which we're in desperate need of in Utah.
As of August 2, 2021, Utah's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reported that most of Utah is in either the extreme or exceptional drought category.
"About 60% of our residential water use is used outdoors on our landscapes and gardens and, if you think about it, one irrigation cycle on the average quarter-acre of home uses about 3,000 gallons. Even reducing by one watering can significantly save water," said Candice Hasenyager, the deputy director of the Utah Division of Water Resources (DWR).
While this may seem easy to do, it can be difficult to know exactly when to cut back on watering, especially when the weather flip flops between scorching heat and heavy downpours.
"We are grateful for the precipitation that we’ve received in the last couple of weeks. It did help our soil moisture and helped water our lawns, but our drought is continuing and it will make a difference if everyone does their part," said Hasenyager.
One of the ways we can do our part is by using a smart sprinkler system, which is something Brad Wardle's company B-hyve specializes in.
"If every detached home in Utah had a smart controller, the water savings annually would be the equivalent of 1.5 times Pineview Reservoir," said the vice president of the Smart Sprinkler company.
Smart sprinklers help save water by scheduling watering sessions based on three categories: the weather, soil moisture, and the drought category.
When it comes to the weather, Wardle said the temperature, recent rainfall amount, and wind are all big factors monitored by smart sprinklers systems to figure out when's the best time to water.
So, if it starts to rain or the wind is blowing too hard, the sprinklers will shut off or be delayed until the wind or rain stops.
"Smart irrigation controllers take the guesswork out of how much your lawn needs and how often you should water," Hasenyager said.
The DWR also has a rebate program that will cover the cost of a smart sprinkler system up to $75, making them free or almost free, depending on the model you buy.
"For any budget, they’ll do the same thing essentially, from a smart perspective and from your app," Wardle said.
The B-hyve VP also said that the smart sprinklers are usually easy to install and there are video tutorials online for people who may need some extra guidance beyond the written instructions.