Smart Water Application Technologies

Background

Smart Water Application Technologies is a coalition of water purveyors, equipment manufacturers and irrigation professionals. Founded in 2002, SWAT is committed to identifying, testing and promoting innovative irrigation technologies and related best practices that improve water-use efficiency.

Reducing outdoor water use has become a top priority in communities across North America. Whether driven by drought, population growth or crumbling infrastructure, many water purveyors are struggling to balance static supplies against increasing demand. At the same time, as much as half of water used for landscape irrigation is lost or wasted due to improper irrigation system design, installation and maintenance.

“Smart” water application technologies take the human element out of the equation. Smart sensors and controllers monitor weather and other site conditions and adjust the irrigation system to apply just the right amount of water at just the right time. Water saving nozzles and pressure regulators apply water precisely, just where it’s needed. Together, these technologies can successfully reduce outdoor water use by as much as 20 to 40 percent annually, while maintaining a healthy, beautiful landscape.

SWAT develops performance testing plans for different categories of irrigation products. These “protocols” define science-based methods to evaluate whether products meet established standards for water-use efficiency. Protocols are drafted by irrigation experts, then opened to public comment before being revised and adopted.

Once finalized, SWAT protocols are used by third-party testing agencies to evaluate whether irrigation products submitted by manufacturers actually save water. Many water providers use these test results as the basis for offering rebates and incentives to consumers who are upgrading their sprinkler systems. In some cases, protocols have also been used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense initiative to develop standards for product labeling.

In addition to developing test protocols and reports, SWAT: 

  • Defines best practices for irrigation and water management.
  • Encourages partnerships between water providers, irrigation industry representatives, government agencies and landscape professionals in water resource management.
  • Educates stakeholders about the water-saving potential of advanced irrigation technologies.
  • Produces professional, customizable marketing materials for water providers to use in contractor and customer outreach programs.
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