What is smart irrigation system?

Smart irrigation systems tailor watering schedules and run times automatically to meet specific landscape needs. These controllers significantly improve outdoor water use efficiencies.

Unlike traditional irrigation controllers that operate on a preset programmed schedule and timers, smart irrigation controllers monitor weather, soil conditions, evaporation and plant water use to automatically adjust the watering schedule to actual conditions of the site.

For example, as outdoor temperatures increase or rainfall decreases, smart irrigation controllers consider on site-specific variables, such as soil type, sprinklers’ application rate, etc. to adjust the watering run times or schedules. There are several options for smart irrigation controllers.


A weather-based irrigation controller, also sometimes called a smart controller or ET controller, automatically adjusts the watering schedule based on local weather conditions. The controller reduces the amount of watering when the weather cools down, and adds time when it heats up. Smart timers apply irrigation only when needed.

Weather-based controllers use local  evapotranspiration (ET) data to determine irrigation requirements and the watering schedule. As ET values change in response to temperature, wind, humidity, and sunlight so does a plant’s need for water. As ET values increase and plants require more water, the controller uses this information to add more time to the schedule. Smart controllers also use site factors such as microclimate, plant type, soil type, slope, and method of irrigation to inform the watering schedule.

*Evapotranspiration is the amount of water evaporated from the soil and plant surfaces and the water transpired from a plant’s leaves.


Soil moisture sensor-based smart irrigation controllers use one of several well-established technologies to measure soil moisture content. When buried in the root zone of turf, trees or shrubs, the sensors accurately determine the moisture level in the soil and transmit this reading to the controller.

There are two different soil moisture sensor-based systems available :-

  • Suspended cycle irrigation systems, which are set like traditional timer controllers, with watering schedules, start times and duration. The difference is that the system will stop the next scheduled irrigation when there is enough moisture in the soil.
  • Water on demand irrigation requires no programming of irrigation duration (only start times and days of the week to water). It has a user-set lower and upper threshold, which initiates irrigation when the soil moisture level fails to meet those levels.


  • Studies have shown properties with a history of over-watering will see the greatest savings. Typically, larger properties with turf are good candidates for weather-based irrigation controllers. Sites where customers don’t want the hassle of making adjustments to their timers are also a good match.
  • The experts agree that smart irrigation systems and controllers versus traditional irrigation controllers conserve water across a variety of scenarios. Several controlled research studies indicate substantial water savings anywhere from 30 to 50 percent.
  • Another study tested a prototype controller/receiver system consisting of a traditional irrigation controller modified to receive a signal broadcasted via satellite. Outdoor water savings were calculated based on 2-years of pre-installation usage and were adjusted for weather conditions. The reported average outdoor savings is 16 percent and it is also reported this represents 85 percent of potential savings based on reference ET .
  • A water efficient irrigation study of the Saving Water Partnership, a coalition of 24 water purveyors, was conducted in Washington State’s Puget Sound. Water savings were calculated based on historical consumption and adjustments were made for weather conditions. The reported water savings were 20,735 gallons per year per site for sites with rain sensors controllers and 10,071 gallons per year per site for sites using traditional controllers .


In the agriculture field, sensors are used like soil moisture. The information received from the sensors is sent to the Database folder through the Android device. In the control section, the system is activated using the application, this is finished using the ON/OFF buttons in the application. Also, this system is automatically activated when the soil moisture is low, the pump is switched ON based on the moisture content.

The application has a feature like taking some time from the user and water the agriculture field when the time comes. In this system, there is a switch used to turn off the water supply if the system fails. Other parameters such as the moisture sensor demonstrate the threshold price and the level of water in the soil.This is possible using iot.

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