Across the U.S., watering lawns and gardens is thought to account for nearly a third of water use in homes — which totals nine billion gallons a day nationwide, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The average American household designates about 30% of its water to the outdoors, and that number can rise to as much as 60% in the warmer southwest. More than half of that outdoor water is used for irrigation of lawns and gardens.
What’s worse is that an estimated 50% of that water is wasted because of evaporation, wind, or run-off.
To combat this, Irrigreen has designed a watering system that essentially sprays the exact amount of water your lawn needs — and maps its spray to the shape of a lawn area.
Specially built software calculates each nozzle’s surrounding surface area for every 0.8 degrees of rotation, according to a company report. It uses that data to adapt the nozzle’s rotational speed and valve opening to achieve an equal distribution of spray.
Fourteen different-sized streams give Irrigreen extra control over the volume of water the system shoots out, with stream sizes increasing to cover distances farther from the nozzle head.
Owners can input how many inches of water they want to cover the lawn per watering. The software then calculates an irrigation schedule that avoids overwatering.
The software also uses local weather data to help refine its watering schedule, behaving a little like a thermostat for your lawn.
This year, it raised $15 million in seed funding, which it will use to further develop its product and software that lets homeowners design a custom watering system before they commit to purchasing (and track water savings once Irrigreen has been installed).
The EPA estimates that households could save 9,000 gallons of water annually if they switched to an irrigation system with the WaterSense label, which integrates weather-tailored technology with regular maintenance.
But Irrigreen goes a step further by amending the typical overlapping arcs design, which places heads along the edge of a zone and sprays inwards. These overlaps frequently lead to overwatering.
The company has claimed its system saves up to 50% of households’ water use. One study found that in a 30 feet by 60 feet rectangle, Irrigreen used 42.2% less water than a conventional system. In a 30-foot circle, it reduced water use by 36.7%. Such adjustments could help homeowners save water at a time when rising temperatures are drying up water supplies.
In the southwest, which is facing a historic megadrought, the Colorado River, a major freshwater source for the surrounding states, has lost 20% of its water levels over the past 22 years. In California, the worsening water crisis meant that water bills were 56% higher in June 2022 than at the start of the year.
The California Governor, Gavin Newsom, has since called on water companies to encourage restraint from their customers to help combat the water shortages.
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