My Letter to Santa: All I want for Christmas is better water management

House lit up with Christmas lights Hoping someone will deliver on these wishes.

Dear Mr. Claus;

I hope this letter finds you, Mrs. Claus, the elf’s 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
  • An alert from my smart controller telling me a few days 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 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 saving irrigation products

Merry Christmas to all the manufacturers, entrepreneurs, inventors, product managers of irrigation equipment and Kickstarter.  For my family, who I know reads all my columns, the ipad mini with the retina screen and a water proof case would come in might 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.  Lets make 2014 our best year for conserving water ever.

Note: A version of this post originally appeared in the December 2013 issue of Lawn and Landscape Magazine.

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Richard Restuccia

Richard Restuccia is a water management evangelist. He believes passionately in water efficiency and sees the financial and social benefits far too often to keep a secret. Richard is a spokesperson at industry events and on the Hill to provide direction and insight on landscape water management best practices. Richard puts his words into action through service on various boards and committees. Currently he serves on the Irrigation Association’s Board of Directors. As a board member, Richard serves in a variety of capacities, including government/public affairs. He is the liaison between the board and its marketing committee on the best ways to promote water efficiency and educate industry professionals on new technologies, products and services. Richard is also a regular contributor to Lawn & Landscape Magazine.




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