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"Smart" Timer Effectiveness in Question After a New Study Reveals the Truth About "Smart" Timers. More than 2/3 of The "Smart" Timers That Were Tested Showed Either NO Savings or Higher Usage than Before Installation.

MARCH 5, 2008, SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA -- A new report prepared for the Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC) reveals interesting new information on the effectiveness of "Smart" Irrigation Timers.

The report, published by Kennedy and Jenks on March 4, 2008, analyzes data from a Pilot Implementation Study of "Smart" Timers in a county-wide Implementation Program. In the study, 323 "Smart" Timers (8 different major brands) were installed at commercial locations and monitored from 2004 to 2006. Data from the study reveals 60% of the Timers showed no water savings compared to previous water consumption data. Approximately 29% of the Timers tested showed small water consumption savings (~90 HCF/yr) and an astonishing 11% actually showed higher usage than before installation.

Click Here to View the MWDOC "Smart" Timer Pilot Program Report

These numbers may seem contradictory to the notion of a "Smart" Timer and imply an inherent flaw in some aspect of the typical "Smart" Timer. Based on the data collected in this study, the authors came to the following conclusions:

-In about 30 % of the accounts, the water consumption significantly decreased after installation of a "Smart" Timer.
-In about 11 % of the cases the water consumption increased significantly after installation of a "Smart" Timer.
-In nearly 60 % of the accounts water use did not change significantly upon installation of a "Smart" Timer.
-The program-wide installation of a "Smart" Timer in Commercial units resulted in an average water saving of 90 HCF/year.

(Note: 90 HCF/year savings represents about 5% of the average annual water saved by one water management device remotely operated and managed by Water2Save which has been proven to be approximately 1,300 HCF/year.)

The conclusion was that a "Smart" Timer in itself may not be to blame for not saving water. Instead, operation and management associated with gathering input data, installation, set-up, comparing data, and making sure field personnel have the knowledge necessary to program the complicated "Smart" Timer in a dynamic environment lies at the heart of the matter. In this case, a whole new "paradigm" shift is needed to apply "stealth" (transparent) technology to remotely manage irrigation water. An on-line monitoring and tracking approach has been proven as the best solution to achieve maximum water savings.

A similar study on smart timers by Pittenger, Shaw, and Richie was submitted to the Office of Water Use Efficiency - California Department of Water Resources in June, 2004. In this study, the authors come to similar conclusions about the inherent complexity of a water-saving strategy and a need for professional installation, operation, and monitoring of a "Smart" Timer. Below is an excerpt from the report:

     - greater complexity and technicality of required setup information does not necessarily result in more accurate, water-conserving irrigation schedules.
     - adoption of SWAT will not eliminate human interaction in landscape irrigation management.
     - weather-sensing controllers will likely require professional monitoring and follow-up adjustment of their initial irrigation schedules.
     - use of weather-sensing controllers does not assure landscape water conservation or acceptable landscape plant performance.

Click Here to View UC Riverside "Smart" Timer Report

Water management services provide a more hands-on, proactive approach to the water saving challenge. While a "Smart" Timer operates assuming static conditions, water management services actively work with dynamic changes using numerous sources of information.

Some of these sources include historical water consumption data, irrigation zones, landscaper-suggested run-time schedules, ET readings, forecasted weather data, as well as up-to-date actual run-times of the clock schedules.

By keeping track of consumption data, building working relationships with landscapers, physically visiting properties, monitoring watering times programmed at the controller, and making proactive adjustments, which are all offered by Water2Save, a more comprehensive solution to durable savings is acheived each and every year.

Water2Save has has emerged as the leader in Achieving Maximum Water Savings. To find out more about how Water2Save can work for you, contact us today:

Contact Information
888-H2O-LINK (888-426-5465)
Water2Save, LLC


Breaking News
Landscapers Re-evaluate Offering Water2Save to Their Customers.   Many landscapers have recognized that customers which purchased Smart Timers may not be realizing irrigation water savings. Manufacturers of Smart Timers do not monitor or guarantee water bill savings. Now is the time to consider offering customers a solution which delivers routine savings reports. Contact Water2Save to find out more about how to improve retention of landscape contracts.

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