Monday, April 21, 2014

Richard Restuccia

The author is director of water management solutions for ValleyCrest Landscape Cos., Calabassas, Calif.


The water saver’s Christmas list


Get your pencil, paper and cookies ready.

December 4, 2013

Dear Mr. Claus:

I hope this letter finds you, Mrs. Claus, the elves and reindeer all well. I trust you are all preparing for a busy season crafting toys, working on travel logistics and making wishes come true. (And I thought I had a tough job).

I was a little reluctant to write this letter because I have reviewed a few of the extensive and detailed list of demands from some of the 8 year olds in my neighborhood. But Santa, (I do hope it is okay I call you Santa) what I am asking for is much more important than bicycles and Barbies. My wish list deals with saving water and let’s face it, you have some skin in the game.

The North Pole is located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean amid waters that are almost permanently covered with constantly shifting sea ice. We want to make sure that ice stays ice and we don’t have to consult with some of the house boat makers on plans for a floating Santa’s workshop. So in the spirit of water management for both the North Pole and all the boys and girls, I have a few items I would like for Christmas:

  • A wireless irrigation valve that communicates with the controller through a wifi network. And if you have some spare time, the valve should tweet the run times to a #hashtag we could all follow on Twitter.
  • An inspection report for my tablet that allows me to write in free form with no grids. The grids are too confining to write in and are limiting especially when technicians walk around all day completing irrigation inspection reports.
  • How about advanced flow management in a reasonably priced smart controller? Smart controllers need the ability to talk to each other so we can manage flow with multiple controllers running on the same main. I see many looped irrigation systems unable to take advantage of flow control because the controllers do not communicate with each other.
  • Water management analytics from my smart controller. I need a simple report from my smart controller telling me how much water I used during a specific time compared to the same specific time of day, month, or year earlier. This report also has to integrate ET data so I can see if I am using more water due to increased ET. It would be great if I could create another report giving me this data compared to a water budget. It would be even better if I could export this report to a PDF and easily email it to my customers.
  • I need an alert from my smart controller telling me a day before I am going into another water pricing tier.
  • A wireless soil moister sensor that goes around corners and connects to most smart controllers.
  • More company training on all the cool new technology. How to install it and how to operate it.
  • Real time water use reports delivered to my smart phone. This would include indoor and outdoor water use.
  • A website that shows me water pricing across the nation for specific cities and water agencies.
  • A website showing available rebates for water savings irrigation products.

Merry Christmas to all the manufacturers, entrepreneurs, inventors, product managers of irrigation equipment and Kickstarter. For my family, the iPad mini with the retina screen and a water proof case would come in handy next year.

Merry Christmas and thank you to the rest of you who have been working diligently all year to make a difference saving water. Let’s make 2014 our best year for conserving water ever.


This article is a partnership between the ValleyCrest Water Bloggers and Lawn & Landscape. Read more at Email with questions and comments.

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