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Innovative Irrigation: Saving Water through Technology

By Tobias RobertsRise Writer
Jul 25, 2018

 When taking a jog around the neighborhood, it is not uncommon for a neighbor's sprinkler system to give you a needed cool down as you run past their home. While the cool water might be welcomed during a hot afternoon, the road's asphalt certainly doesn’t need the watering. Most homeowners would never waste 50% of a toner cartridge's ink by spraying it off the edges of the paper. So why do we so willingly waste vast amounts of outdoor water by spraying it on places that do not need water—and might even be damaged by excess irrigation?  

Gary Klinefelter worked as an engineer in the commercial inkjet printing industry for several years. He developed over 30 design patents of computer-controlled printers that precisely spray ink into letters and shapes on paper. His experience in helping the printing industry save ink through more accurate and exact technologies allowed him to develop an innovative lawn and garden irrigation system that allows property owners to irrigate only the areas of their yard that need water. 

The Water Requirements of Most Yards

The EPA estimates that up to 50 percent of the water we use to irrigate our lawns and gardens is lost due to evaporation, wind, runoff, and inefficient watering practices. A 2014 Government Accountability report found that 80 percent of all state water managers expect severe water shortages in the coming decade due to the effects of global warming and increasing water stress on the rivers, reservoirs, and aquifers that supply many regions with fresh water. 

Wasting massive amounts of freshwater through ineffective irrigation techniques is a practice that needs to change. Many regions across the country are enforcing water restriction regulations that control and enforce how much water can be used for outdoor uses, such as watering the lawn and washing vehicles. While some homeowners might opt for replacing those thirsty lawns with water-smart home landscapes that radically reduce the amount of water needed to create an aesthetically pleasing and ecologically diverse terrain around the home, for many people, the thought of a home without a green yard might be hard to swallow. 

Over 90 percent of all lawns in the United States use Kentucky bluegrass or other types of water-reliant grasses that require frequent irrigation. Reseeding your turf with more drought-tolerant species such as buffalo grass, St. Augustine grass, or Zoysia grass is one quick way to significantly reduce the amount of water you need while still maintaining a green lawn. However, even these turfs will need periodic watering during long periods of drought accompanied by high summer heat. 

If you can't imagine a home without a yard for kids to play in and pets to roll in, finding an efficient way to irrigate your lawn is a must. 

What is the IrriGreen Genius™ Sprinkler?

The IrriGreen Genius™ Sprinkler is a unique home irrigation system designed to conserve water by using a multi-stream nozzle that is wirelessly programmed to follow the shape of your yard.  Whereas most sprinklers and conventional irrigation systems wastewater through coverage overlap that leads to overwatering certain areas and sending water into the street, onto the wall of your home, or into the tree line behind your house, the IrriGreen Genius sprinkler is wirelessly programmed to fit the unique contour of your landscape. This essentially means that this sprinkler system can avoid overlapping irrigation in different parts of your yard and can follow your lawn's edges to prevent irrigating places that don't need water. Your tomato plants on the edge of your vegetable garden can thus avoid needless extra irrigation that often leads to fungal diseases and other problems. 

If you change the design of your landscape by adding a footpath or increasing the size of your flower beds, you can quickly and wirelessly reconfigure the zones of your lawn that you want to be watered by the IrriGreen sprinkler. The system has a Wi-Fi-enabled controller that is wired to Genius Sprinklers using a multi-wire irrigation cable. Genius systems include a flow meter to automate setup and monitor performance. The mobile app is used for system setup and scheduling.

The IrriGreen sprinkler has a unique digitally controlled water distribution at each sprinkler head. The sprinkler head has 14 different-sized holes that all offer different sized streams to optimize coverage and ensure that all areas of your yard receive an equal amount of water. The largest can send a stream of water up to 30 feet in distance, which is essential for more extensive lawns. The sprinkler delivers vast drops of water that fall like raindrops on the soil. This helps to make sure that the water, instead of falling as mist on the blades of grass that can be lost to evaporation, penetrates the root zones of the soil where grass most needs the extra moisture. 

The unique advancements offered by this irrigation technology led to a 2014 Product Innovation Award from Architectural Products magazine.

Benefits of IrriGreen Genius Sprinkler

The uniformity of coverage doesn’t require strategic placement of the individual sprinkler heads. Instead, the programming of each zone of your yard is quick and straightforward with the easy mobile app. While traditional sprinkler systems require homeowners to place dozens of sprinkler heads around the lawn, all with large amounts of pipes and fittings, the IrriGreen system will reduce the total amount of sprinklers and piping needed. Not only does this reduce the total cost of a complete irrigation system, but the simplicity of setup allows most homeowners to install and program the system themselves and thus avoid hiring a landscape professional.

The main benefit of this irrigation system, however, is related to its water-saving benefits. The Center for Irrigation Technology (CIT) at Fresno State University recently researched the IrriGreen Genius Sprinkler. The study found that IrriGreen Genius Irrigation System with EcoZone™ technology matched the operational sprinkler efficiency and water distribution uniformity of mechanical systems… and did so with 40 percent less water.

The study revealed that one multi-stream Genius sprinkler head per zone delivered an equivalent amount of water to adequately increase soil moisture as 6-9 mechanical irrigation heads. Essentially, one IrriGreen sprinkler does the same amount of work as up to 9 traditional sprinklers. 

Where to Find IrriGreen Genius Sprinklers?

This unique irrigation technology is today for sale in 27 states and certain Canadian provinces through diverse retailers. You can find a retailer near you and consult pricing options here

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2021-07-10T04:59:58+0000
Tobias Roberts

Article by:

Tobias Roberts

Tobias runs an agroecology farm and a natural building collective in the mountains of El Salvador. He specializes in earthen construction methods and uses permaculture design methods to integrate structures into the sustainability of the landscape.