Smart Water Application Technology (SWAT) Initiative
Smart irrigation controllers are a new technological innovation and have garnered national attention. There is tremendous interest in the potential of these devices to improve irrigation water management and a broad coalition of partners have come together in an effort to ensure that the technology performs to expectations and is successfully introduced into the market. The "Smart Water Application Technology" (SWAT) project is an international utility/irrigation industry initiative to achieve exceptional landscape water use efficiency through the application of irrigation technology. SWAT identifies, researches, and promotes technological innovations and related management practices that advance the principles of efficient water use. Led by the Irrigation Association (IA) in partnership with leading water purveyors, the SWAT process also includes industry professional associations and irrigation equipment suppliers.
Click here to visit the Irrigation Association’s SWAT web site.
The SWAT initiative currently has two working groups: a technical team and a market transformation team. The technical team has developed conservation testing protocol for climate- and sensor-based control systems. The Center for Irrigation Technology (CIT) has assisted the Irrigation Association in developing the protocol. CIT (located at California State University, Fresno) conducts irrigation equipment testing and evaluation for both public agencies and private businesses. Through grants and donations, CIT has developed a state-of-the-art hydraulics laboratory for testing irrigation equipment. CIT is currently the only SWAT testing facility though the testing protocol is available to any public or private institution through the Irrigation Association. Manufacturers may submit their products for testing and may elect to publish the testing results, otherwise they are considered confidential. To date four smart controller products have released their test results for review.
Some of the agencies in the California smart controller program, such as EBMUD, have required a published performance reports from the SWAT protocol be published on the SWAT web site, for a technology to be included in their program. Support such as this from water agencies has encouraged smart controller manufacturers to submit (and revise and re-submit) their products for testing and to publish the results. Agencies with this requirement believe that independent testing provides a safe guard that ensures a smart technology will provide adequate irrigation to landscapes without excessive waste.
Click here for a list of all controllers that have released SWAT testing results.