As part of an ongoing, aggressive effort to manage landscape watering, Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) has chosen Toro Irrigation to develop and provide a user-friendly device designed to automatically keep residential irrigation watering schedules in compliance with SNWA’s Watering Group Program. Called the “Watering Group Assistant,” the device can easily be connected to a homeowner’s existing controller. Once installed, it assures that the watering schedule is always in compliance with SNWA’s seasonal watering restrictions. As a result, well-intentioned homeowners wanting to comply with watering restrictions, but forgetting to reprogram their timers, will no longer risk being cited or fined for watering outside the designated times. More importantly, SNWA anticipates that automated compliance may save millions of gallons of water that would otherwise be wasted.
To enhance ease-of-use, the Toro Watering Group Assistant features a large digital display as well as a front-panel, red-LED that lights clearly to indicate when watering is restricted. In addition, a programmable bypass feature allows the homeowner to override restrictions from 1-30 days in order to handle new plantings, landscape establishment periods or system repairs. As a leader in patented technology and adding to Toro’s over 200 patents, the “Water Card™” feature, is a patent-pending exclusive, designed to provide SNWA – or any other water purveyor in the nation – the ability to change the device’s built-in software to accommodate unexpected future needs, efficiently and cost-effectively. “The Toro product offers some versatile features, such as the option of installing a new program using Water-Card technology. The ability to easily reprogram the unit means the hardware won’t be obsolete if there are future changes to mandatory watering schedules” says Doug Bennett, SNWA’s Conservation Manager. The Water-Card is simple and can be easily used by agency employees, or mailed directly to a homeowner.
SNWA selected five different vendors to provide prototypes and plans to install all units later this summer. A study to validate the performance of the units will be conducted after a one year test period, after which time homeowners will be surveyed and SNWA will pick the winning design(s) for future use. Evaluation will be based on overall performance, ease of installation and esthetics; categories that Toro hopes will make the Watering Group Assistant a winner.