Over the years, the Online Think Tank has studied the challenges of droughts in the US. Our goal is to come up with solution to ease the pain of dwindling and over taxed fresh water supplies that our civilization so desperately needs. One concept we came up with was a scheme which used the latest in moisture sensors and net-centric WiFi systems to monitor the amount of water used on landscaping and lawns. These technology strategies can help home owners maintain lawns in drought areas using a fraction of the normal water use.
Professional Landscapers know that by burying wireless sensors on a rod in several places on a golf course to measure the exact amount of water getting to the roots. A healthy lawn only needs to be watered down to the roots and approximately three quarters of an inch below that. Any more is a waste and counter-productive for the lawns health. Professional lawn watering techniques have often been studied at length to improve efficiency in drought ridden regions and prevent the roots of the lawns from rotting out. Over watering the lawns or golf course greens does no one any good, as a matter of fact invites disease and additional problems to the lawn
Using such a system could save perhaps half of all landscape and lawn water and we know that 40% of all water used in a residence is used outside the home, thus, we can cut the water usage of the average household by 20%, and that's before employing gray water strategies. Now then, if you consider the over watering of center medians by municipalities in the middle of the night and the run off which flows into drinking water of local lakes and/or causes Algae Blooms from excessive fertilizer nitrates, then perhaps this concept could help there as well.
How does this system work? Well the sensors would be fixed to small rods not more than .3 meters long with wireless sensors in it buried a few inches deep to avoid being cut off by lawn mowers. The remote control computer gathering system mechanism would be attached to sprinkler system controls. The cost could be as little as $80.00 for the controls and as little as $8 per rod for such uses and mass production of any of these ideas. If these ideas were rendered as relevant BMPs, then perhaps the cost could go down to $35.00 per control and $5.00 per unit considering the economies of scale, since everyone would use them. In fact, they could be mass produced and sold at Wal-Mart, Lowes and Home Depot.
Currently, similar devises are used in private wells, pipelines, tanks etc. for fluid level control. The Flow of Water in this country is critical to the health and wealth of our Nation. The degree of effort we put forth now in conservation and savings will pay dividends and thus such systems are clearly worth the nominal upfront costs. These system are needed now, especially in the South and out West in drought ridden areas. This is an inexpensive solution to a major problem.
By employing innovative concepts like this we can spare our underground aquifers as well, as we are depleting these fresh water resources much faster than they are recharging. Now is the time to take action on water conservation. It has been estimated that watering of Golf Courses in many cities takes up to 10% of the total usage, so if you could cut it down by half, you get 5% of the total city's water use footprint back almost immediately. Of course, there are also agriculture applications for such a concept. With the increased growth and increased frequency of the droughts and severity of each new drought it is time to study these technologies further for the future of mankind. Please think on this. I offer the following essay as background information:
The Flow of Water: http://activerain.com/blogsview/394040/The-Flow-of-Water