Florida Bill Supports Smart Irrigation

An amendment proposed for SB 494 and included in SB 2530 in Florida includes a new alternative for water-conserving landscape irrigation. The amendment calls for using a "smart controller" within conditions of each water management district and proposes to exempt users from watering restrictions.

Smart irrigation controllers use only the water that is needed and only when it's needed. According to University of Florida studies, using this technology can save up to 80 percent of water used for irrigation—while still giving landscapes the water they need to be healthy and beautiful. According to studies, such systems save up to 24 percent of water during wet periods and up to 80 percent in dry periods.

According to the legislation, homeowners, developers, and businesses who adopt this technology will be granted a "variance" from irrigation restrictions. Properties using the technology will have proper signage indicating that they are participating in the "Smart Irrigator" program.

Online access to smart controllers will allow utilities and water management districts to monitor both compliance and water use. If users do not properly install and use the technology, the variance can be revoked.

"The Florida Wildlife Federation supports this because we know that smart conservation practices are critical to protecting the quality of life including the environment and the landscapes we love," said Jay Liles, policy consultant to the Florida Wildlife Federation.