Don’t quit. Retrofit.

Patrick McIntyre has been Chairman and CEO of ETwater since 2009, leading the release of innovative new commercial irrigation products and services

Pat McIntyre, CEO

Be #smartest for water conservation, eliminate your outdoor water waste.

It’s well documented that a standard or conventional irrigation controller wastes up to 50% on over-watering or runoff. The importance of changing and upgrading these antiquated basic controllers is becoming more pressing as water gets scarcer and expensive. Public awareness about lawn and landscape watering waste from daily media coverage of the unprecedented drought in California and other parts of the country is stimulating interest in sustainable living innovations. The breakthroughs in ‘smart’ technologies will help us vastly improve our water efficiency and conservation efforts. With a smart irrigation controller you’re able to eliminate over-watering and excessive runoff by scheduling only the minimum irrigation necessary to keep your property healthy, attractive based on your specific landscape characteristics and weather predictability.

The problem with the standard or conventional irrigation controller is accurately captured in the slang landscapers and contractors use when referring to them. They call it a “clock.” Using a “clock” wastes water in two very basic ways. The first occurs in the initial set up of a daily baseline watering schedule because people use their best estimate to determine what the appropriate frequency and duration of their daily irrigation should be- this is analogous to setting your watch by looking at the sun. If you have an opportunity to check a “clock” schedule, you’re likely to see individual zone schedules are set consistently between stations with a running time for fewer minutes in the early season and more minutes of run time during the peak season. You’ll likely see too that a turf station, a shrub station, a bedding plant station will all share similar run times regardless whether they’re in full sun or shade, on flat or sloped ground and plant maturity (root depth). The second cause of waste with a “clock” is because it operates as a timer that specifies a day, time and duration for irrigation regardless of any variability in the weather. Recognizing this problem people tried to manage the timer by manually adjusting the “clock” or shutting it down with an accessory device like a rain gauge or rudimentary site weather gauge.

The conventional irrigation controller is truly a “clock”… just a simple timer with a few unique capabilities and many sacrifices in performance. So while capabilities have been added over the years, and accessories enabling a shutdown of the “clock” under certain conditions are able to marginally reduce water waste, the fundamental shortcomings with the irrigation “clock” remain. You have to determine the baseline schedule and then physically change the “clock” as the seasons evolved. People adjusting the “clock” have to anticipate and model the horticultural science of evapotranspiration to properly set up a baseline schedule and then change that schedule as often as the weather changes. It’s a very difficult if not impossible task, which logically gave rise to people over the years tinkering to make the “clock” smarter.

The people at ETwater in recognizing the limitations of the “clock” and the importance of conservation endeavored to build a more accurately precise, powerful irrigation “supercomputer” that would replace the “clock” for any home or business. Subsequently, ETwater developed and patented an internet cloud-based water scheduling system that enables an automated, scientifically calculated baseline schedule which through wireless mobile connectivity can adjust the irrigation schedule as often as the weather changes – every day. In the decision to move away from merely modifying the “clock,” ETwater is working on perfecting the smartest irrigation over what others tout as smart controller functionality.

In addition to an open access, cloud-computing technology base, ET water has also created a product that retrofits and upgrades any irrigation “clock” to the ETwater technology platform with all the advantages of our unique weather-based irrigation system. There’s no longer a need to rip and replace a “clock” to achieve “smartest” irrigation; you simply attach an ETwater retrofit smart controller* in under 10 minutes. Then log in from any smart phone, computer or tablet to input your unique landscape parameters which will create and thereafter automatically manage a scientific-based irrigation schedule that performs fully-differentiated watering according to the vegetation needs of each station or zone.

The ETwater smart irrigation retrofit option- the only one of its kind- is designed to draw power from the conventional irrigation ‘host’ controller and actuate the valves through the existing station wiring. All you have to do is attach a power cable to the conventional irrigation host controller and then turn the conventional controller off. ETwater takes over to become your smartest irrigation management system. ETwater is compatible with all prevalent models of “clocks” including Rainbird, Hunter, Toro, Irritrol, Superior and WeatherMatic, among other irrigation controller brands. The cost-prohibitive barrier that had existed for so long with upgrading “clocks” to smart irrigation controllers has been completely removed. Now all of us as a matter of practical property maintenance can readily retrofit to eliminate the age-old landscaping problems of waste and damage from over-watering and runoff.

* Released in 2011 as the ETwater HermitCrab™ model smart irrigation controller.