Irrigation Flow Sensors

Public Comment on SWAT Testing Protocol

SWAT began developing a testing protocol for flow sensors in May 2015. Version 2.0 was posted on September 20, 2016, and is the first draft released for a 90-day public comment period. All public comments on SWAT Irrigation Flow Sensing System Test Version 2.0 must be submitted by December 20, 2016.  


Read Version 2                     Submit Comments    


Download and complete the SWAT comment form then email your completed form to For questions about SWAT or flow sensors, contact the Irrigation Association (703.536.7080;


Background on Flow Sensor Protocol

Flow sensors have become more affordable and more commonly used in landscape irrigation systems. The flow sensor uses a design demonstrated to be suitable for normal irrigation water quality. The ability of the unit to sense flow shall be those claimed by the manufacturer. This testing protocol measures how well the flow sensor can detect and measure flow.


Flow sensors and the appropriate electronic module or compatible irrigation controller can use the signal created by the flow sensor to measure the flow when individual irrigation stations are operating or detect flow when the irrigation system should not be operating. The flow sensor and an appropriate indicating device or irrigation controller interface could also identify abnormal flow conditions and respond to such conditions as determined by the irrigation manager. 


The electronic module could provide the option of documenting totalized flow readings. The flow sensor and monitor system is not suitable for custody transfer purposes unless claimed by the manufacturer. 


This protocol does not evaluate a flow monitoring system that could make irrigation management decisions based on abnormal flow conditions.


SWAT Testing Protocols

Protocols are drafted by irrigation experts, then opened for public comment for 90 days. Comments are reviewed and considered. Where appropriate, changes are made to the testing protocol and made available again for public comment. Major changes are open for comment for 90 days and minor changes for 30 days. Most protocols go through several cycles of public review and revision before being adopted for third-party testing. Complete details about the development of SWAT testing protocols can be found here.