Frequently Asked Questions

   
Q: How does SWAT testing work?  
A: SWAT develops performance-based testing protocols with the input of irrigation experts and soliciting public comment. SWAT protocols are currently available for rain sensorssoil moisture-based controllers weather-based controllers, and sprinkler check valves. Testing is conducted by an independent testing laboratory. Click on a product name above for details on the protocol or click on Product Testing to learn how to meet SWAT requirements.
   
Q: What other protocols are under development?  
A: Test protocols for spray head nozzles are currently under development. Future product testing protocols will be done for flow sensors, pressure-regulating valves and scheduling programs/apps.
   
Q: Have smart irrigation products already been tested in other communities?  
A: Yes, smart controllers have been field-tested in a number of U.S. communities, including those in California, Colorado, Washington, Florida and Texas. Results from these studies have shown that weather-based and soil moisture-based controllers are effective in reducing outdoor water use. Heavy water users can reduce water 20-40 percent or more.
   
Q: How can I get a smart irrigation initiative started in my community?  
A: SWAT and the Irrigation Association are committed to working with water providers to implement incentives to to use products that improve efficiency to reduce landscape water-use. Download SWAT's free marketing toolkit with step-by-step guidelines and professionally designed, customizable materials that make it easy to develop and launch your own incentive program.
   
Q: What benefits do smart irrigation products offer consumers?  
A: 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, where it’s needed. Together, these technologies can successfully reduce outdoor water use while helping maintain a healthy, beautiful landscape.
   
Q: How do smart irrigation products help protect the environment?  
A: How consumers water their gardens and yards can make a big difference. Smart controllers reduce water waste and help protect critical water supplies by applying the right amount of water and minimizing or eliminating runoff.
   
Q: How much do smart controllers cost?  
A: The cost of smart controllers varies based on the model’s features and number of zones. The technology has improved and the cost has come down making the new controllers about the same cost as older versions. In addition, some weather-based controllers require a small monthly or annual fee to receive daily weather information.
   
Q: How can my organization support SWAT?  
A: SWAT’s success depends on the support and active involvement of water providers throughout North America. These key stakeholders play a critical role by promoting the importance of water-use efficiency within their own communities, sharing success stories and lessons learned with other water utilities and contributing financially to support and grow SWAT’s activities.

Irrigation equipment manufacturers, distributors and contractors, as well as designers, specifiers and developers play a critical role in defining test protocols that are meaningful to the industry. Learn more about volunteer opportunities or contact IA to make a donation (70-536-7080; swat@irrigation.org).
   
Q: How can irrigation professionals get trained and certified in installing smart irrigation products?  
A:  Irrigation equipment manufacturers and distributors offer extensive training in installing their products and many now have online tutorials. IA provides a wide range of classroom, self-study and online education resources for irrigation professionals. IA also offers a number of certification programs for professionals specializing in turf, landscape and golf irrigation.
   
Q: What is the difference between SWAT and WaterSense, a partnership program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency? 
A:  SWAT creates testing protocols and allows manufacturers to voluntarily test their products. SWAT reports how the products perform that validates manufacturer claims. The EPA’s WaterSense labeling program for weather-based controllers is based on SWAT testing protocols, and establishes minimum performance levels that will earn a product the WaterSense label. The two programs are similar, but not identical, in promoting the use of water efficient irrigation products. SWAT reports performance results while WaterSense provides a label but no details about performance.