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ETwater's Hermitcrab smart irrigation control system. (Left) Functional flow (Right) The actual system. See the attached PDF to this post. (via ETwater)

With smart technology infiltrating everything from our televisions to our refrigerators, it's about time lawn care tools get the digital upgrade. Sure, there are different timers out there to set and forget your sprinkler, but with unpredictable weather it becomes less efficient. There's also the chance you'll flat out forget to set the timer at all. So what's the next solution? ETwater has a smart sprinkler that waters your lawn only when you need it.


How does it work? ETwater's smart sprinkler uses both local sensors to monitor temperature, soil type, and slope along with real-time weather stats to determine how much water your lawn and plants actually need. For example, if it's raining the system will deliver less water to your plants during the week. It can also monitor your landscape by adjusting water distribution for different soil and plant types. The system continues to learn about the user's lawn data the longer it's in use in order to make smarter predictions about the amount of water your plants need. Sounds better than spending ten minutes adjusting your standard sprinkler to make sure it gets most of your lawn.


ETwater's system is similar to the precision agriculture techniques used by farmers. But this smart sprinkler is made for public parks, corporate campuses, and residential lawns. It only costs $35 a month to lease out the equipment. Currently, the company is working on a smartphone app so people can control water usage from their phones, but this method is already being used for more than just lawn care.



CCTV camera view of approaching house fires on Simon Maddocks' remote house. (via Simon Maddocks)


Last week, South Australia was hit with deadly brushfires that destroyed properties and natural spaces. In situations like this people have little power or control over what happens, but one man found a way to save his home. Simon Maddocks, President and Vice-Chancellor of Charles Darwin University, found out about the fires from friends and messages sent by the Country Fire Service (CFS). Maddocks was in his university office at the time far away from his rural home, which was at high risk due to his wheat farm. Instead of sitting by and fretting, Maddocks tracked the flames from over 3,000 kilometers using CFS maps on his phone. He then hooked up with the CCTV cameras located at his house.


Once he was connected, he saw darkness followed by a red fireball. It was at that moment he activated his sprinkler system remotely from his phone. He told ABC news “The fire came up all around the house, but my ability to turn on irrigation systems from my phone in Darwin and the fact that I had neighbors patrolling with fire units, we're lucky we got away with a house.” Maddocks also had horses on the property, which escaped the fire unharmed. The smart part of this sprinkler was Maddocks. It proves, in a way, house yards need to be as smart and smart home, at least.


Another area view of the remote home. (via Simon Maddocks)


These two example of smart sprinkler systems show how useful the technology is. Not only will it help save water consumption, but in certain cases like Maddocks' it can even help to save property. Hopefully, more companies will look at these two example and start implementing the technology in more lawn care systems. It'll be a short while until everyone on the block has their own smart watering system.

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