You can conserve water by operating your Baseline irrigation controller in a "smart" mode rather than in a timed mode. Unlike traditional irrigation controllers that operate on a timed schedule, a smart controller actively adjusts its watering schedule based on input from sensors. Smart controllers save water by applying the least amount of water possible to keep the soil moisture content in the root zone at the appropriate levels.
Baseline recommends watering smart with our biSensor soil moisture sensors because the sensors measure soil moisture levels where it matters, in the root zone of your plants. Baseline biSensors automatically adapt to the effects of evapotranspiration in real-time.
Baseline's irrigation controllers can also be programmed to use WeatherAccess™, a weather-based watering mode. WeatherAccess applies real-time weather data from a weather station in your area (available in Weather Underground's weather station network), and configurable zone properties to a standardized evapotranspiration (ET) equation. This calculation estimates the loss of moisture from the root zone, and then the irrigation controller uses the calculated value to adjust the runtime in order to apply just enough water to replace that lost moisture.
The controller's ability to accurately adjust runtimes depends on the quality of the weather data and how accurately the following properties are configured for each hydrozone in your landscape:
- A specific plant type's water needs (known as the crop coefficient)
- Root zone depth
- The plant's microclimate (ranging from full sun to total shade)
- The application rate of the irrigation method used (spray, rotor, drip, or bubbler)
- Type of soil at the site (clay, sand, or loam)
- Slope of landscape (ranging from slight to extreme)
To successfully configure the hydrozone settings in a Baseline irrigation controller, you should have technical knowledge of horticulture, water management, and an understanding of the science behind weather-based watering.
Refer to the BaseStation 1000 or BaseStation 3200 user manual for controller specifications and general configuration information.
To get started, review the steps in an Overview of Setting Up Weather-Based Watering.