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Top Irrigation Innovations: Saving Water in the 21st Century with Technology

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According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American household uses as much as 320 gallons of water every day. Around 30 percent of this is used outdoors, mostly for watering gardens and lawns. That’s a total of 9 billion gallons of residential water used each day on landscape irrigation.

The History of Sprinkler Systems

The sprinkler system’s history is intertwined with the development of municipal water supplies and dates back to ancient Rome, where water was first brought from aqueducts to homes and public places. Moving forward, in the late 16th century, waterwheels were used to move water in Europe. Although Hero of Alexandria invented a steam engine type of sprinkler in the first century, it wasn’t until many centuries later that a system was developed that could effectively spray water onto crops and gardens.

During the 18th and 19th century, steam pumps were fabricated so that major cities could have water delivered by means of pressurized systems. Wealthy families, who had extensive gardens to upkeep, wanted a way to maintain their landscapes during times when there was little rain. Though steam-powered pumps attached to hoses were used to spray plants at a distance, there was still no successful sprinkler delivery system.

It wasn’t until 1871 that New York native J. Lessler patented the very first water-propelled, fixed-head lawn sprinkler. This development was followed shortly by rotating-head sprinklers. By the turn of the 20th century, sprinkler heads had become sophisticated enough to spray an arc of water from heads made of aluminium and rubber. Some had the ability to spray water over a distance of 600 square feet. Agricultural sprinkler systems operated differently. They used rain-gun sprinklers which pushed water at high pressure. This type of system was above ground and used hydraulics or electricity to move it.

In the 20th century, underground sprinkler system arrived on the scene. These buried systems had the ability to cover separate zones of large landscapes and could be put on a coordinated programmable timer system. Such systems can be electrically or hydraulically operated, and some can compensate for rainfall and runoff.

Sprinklers and Modern Technology

These days, Professional Irrigation Systems are being designed with more sophistication, so they can use technology to actually help households and other facilities to conserve water. These innovative changes include features like moisture sensitivity controls. This means a system is able to detect the moisture level in the soil. If it finds there’s moisture present, it can switch off, saving water and energy. Irrigation systems can also be connected to WIFI so controlling them at a distance can be facilitated. This also enables maintenance checks to be performed remotely.

When you have a large landscape, such as a golf course, that needs watering regularly, things can get tricky. Fortunately, thanks to technology, computerized solutions for irrigation now exist. For example, a computerized control system running specialized software can enable a golf course groundskeeper to operate an irrigation system from a centralized office. This enables the controller to manipulate the system right down to individual sprinkler heads. Graphic displays show details of water distribution throughout the golf course and start and stop times can be programmed and adjusted at the touch of a button. Some software solutions allow for spraying times to be automatically adjusted depending on rainfall. These are ideal not only for golf courses, but also colleges, sports fields, resorts, cemeteries, property developments and parks. This type of irrigation management system saves time because it also enables the controller to easily see if maintenance is needed to fix damaged water lines or ruptured sprinklers. Changes can be made to modify these instances in a matter of seconds so that the problems can be fixed.

Moisture Sensing Technology

For farmers, irrigation is a big issue and needs to be handled efficiently. In-field moisture sensors can measure how much water soil is holding and how much of it is available for crops. This enables farmers to calculate exactly how much water is needed in a certain area and to manage irrigation as the crops grow. The sensors measure the water availability at different depths in the soil and transmit the information to computers and mobile devices.

Now is a great time to look into irrigation management systems and water sensors, particularly if you are involved in maintaining large landscapes or in agriculture. Water conservation is a growing concern throughout the world and one that must not be taken lightly. New developments in technology are helping to make this process much easier than ever before.

Holly Lewis is a garden designer with a passion for eco-living. She encourages her clients to lead a green lifestyle and can point them in the right direction through her garden services. She provides more tips and thoughts on living green in her articles.

 

Environment

Want to Connect With Nature? Start by Disconnecting From Busyness

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Connect With Nature

Have you ever found yourself staring at one of your (many) devices and feeling slightly disgusted with how much time you waste on technology? If so, you aren’t alone. We all have moments like these and it’s important that we use them as motivation to change – especially if we want to be more connected with nature.

How Busyness Impacts Your Connection With Nature

Whether you realize it or not, you live an ultra connected life. Between smart phones, tablets, computers, and wearable devices, you’re never very far from some sort of technology that can connect you to the internet or put you in touch with other people. That’s just the world we live in.

While it could be argued that this sort of omnipresent connectivity is a positive thing, it’s also pretty clear that being permanently tethered to technology impacts our ability to strip away distractions and connect with nature.

When you’re always within arm’s reach of a device, you feel a sense of busyness.  Whether it’s browsing your social media feed, uploading a picture, reading the news, or responding to an email, there’s always something to do. As someone who wants to spend more time in nature, this is problematic.

4 Practical Ways to Disconnect

If you want to truly connect with nature and live a greener lifestyle, you have to be proactive about finding ways to disconnect. Here are a few practical suggestions:

1. Switch to a New Phone Plan

It’s not always practical to totally unplug from the world. Family and work responsibilities mean you can’t go off the grid and continue to fulfill your responsibilities. Having said that, there are some ways to scale back.

One suggestion is to switch to a prepaid phone plan. When you have a prepaid phone plan, you’re far less likely to spend hours and hours of your time making phone calls, sending texts, and surfing the web. It forces you to be more conscious of what you’re doing.

2. Get Rid of Social Media

Social media is one of the biggest time wasters for most people. Whether you realize it or not, it’s also a huge stressor. You’re constantly being exposed to the best snapshots of everyone else’s lives, which makes you feel like you’re missing out on something (even when you aren’t).

If you want to feel a sense of relief and free yourself up to spend more time in nature, get rid of social media. Don’t just delete the apps off your phone – actually disable your accounts. It’s a bold, yet necessary step.

3. Create Quiet Hours

If you aren’t able to get rid of social media and disable various online accounts, the next best thing you can do is establish quiet hours each day where you totally detach from technology. You should do this for a minimum of three hours per day for best results.

4. Build Community

Do you know why we’re drawn to social media and our devices? Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s because we all want to be connected to other people. But do you know what’s better than connecting with people online? Connecting with them in person.

As you build real life, person-to-person relationships, you’ll feel less of a need to constantly have your eyes glued to a screen. Connect with other people who have an appreciation for nature and bond over your mutual interests.

Untether Your Life

If you find yourself constantly connected to a device, then this is probably a clear indicator that you aren’t living your best life. You certainly aren’t enjoying any sort of meaningful connection with nature. Now’s as good a time as any to untether your life and explore what a world free from cords, screens, and batteries is really like.

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Environment

6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Move

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Moving can be a stressful and challenging time. No matter how many times you’ve done it in the past, the process of packing up, transporting, and unpacking isn’t very fun. It’s also not very eco-friendly. As you prepare for your next move, there are things you can do to ensure you leave less of a footprint behind.

6 Tips for a Greener Move

Because of the stress and pressure felt when moving, it’s pretty common for people to rush through the process and focus on getting it done. In fact, a lot of people take an “at all costs” approach; they’ll do whatever it takes to make the process as cheap and fast as possible. Don’t be one of those people. It doesn’t take much effort to turn a standard move into an eco-friendly move.

1. Maximize Each Trip

When moving across town, it’s imperative that you make as few trips as possible. Each trip requires more gas, more emissions, and more waste, and more time.

If you’re taking your personal vehicle, consider pulling a trailer behind it. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can fit into a small trailer. Not only will it make your move greener, but it’ll also save you a lot of time.

2. Donate Things You Don’t Want to Keep

The longer you live somewhere, the more junk you accumulate. This isn’t always obvious until you start packing for a big move. Instead of bringing all of these things with you to your next home, get rid of the stuff you don’t need! If the items are useful, donate them. If the items don’t have much value, toss them.

3. Reuse Moving Boxes

Not only are moving boxes expensive, but they’re also wasteful. If you need a bunch of cardboard boxes, consider looking around on Craigslist, asking friends, or checking the dumpsters behind stores. You can usually find a bunch of recycled boxes of all different shapes and sizes. Here are 12 places you can get them for free.

4. Get Creative With Packing

Who says you need moving boxes? You may find that it’s possible to do most of your move without all that cardboard. Things like storage containers, trashcans, filing cabinets, buckets, and dressers can all store items. Blankets and sheets can be used in lieu of bubble wrap to prevent your items from getting damaged.

5. Use Green Cleaning Supplies

Once you arrive at your new place, resist the urge to pull out a bunch of harsh chemicals to clean the place. You can do yourself (and the planet) a favor by using green cleaning supplies instead. Ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia are great to start with.

6. Forward Your Mail ASAP

Don’t delay in forwarding your mail from your previous address to your new one. Not only is it wasteful for the Postal Service to route your mail to a place where you don’t live, but the next owner is probably just going to toss your letters in the trash.

Moving Doesn’t Have to be Wasteful

Most people only move once every few years. Some people will go a decade or more without a move. As a result, the process of moving often feels strange and new. The less experience you have with it, the less likely it is that you’ll be as efficient as you should. But instead of just diving into the process blind, take some time to learn about what an eco-friendly move looks like. That way, you can leave behind the smallest footprint possible.

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