Public Policy Issues
The Irrigation Association believes that labeling is critical to widespread adoption of water-saving irrigation technologies and products, and to long-term sustainability of water resources.
Labeling irrigation products that meet established standards for water efficiency and performance:
- Helps consumers make smart choices to reduce water use and utility bills.
- Encourages designers and specifiers to develop sustainable irrigation solutions.
- Allows water providers to minimize peak water use and reduce demand on aging infrastructure.
- Assists policymakers in developing rebate and other financial incentive programs.
As part of the Smart Water Application Technologies initiative, IA works to develop testing protocols that third-party organizations can use to define benchmarks for water-saving products. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program has committed to adopt SWAT protocols for residential landscape products.
IA supports consumer rebates for WaterSense-labeled irrigation products.
SWAT Testing Protocols
Smart Water Application Technologies is a partnership of water providers and irrigation companies, working to promote landscape water-use efficiency through innovative technology. Advanced, “smart” irrigation controllers use climate and soil moisture sensors to deliver the right amount of water at the right time to keep plants healthy without waste.
Managed by the Irrigation Association, SWAT develops testing protocols for product performance, longevity and reliability. Current protocols include:
- Weather-based irrigation controllers (eligible for testing)
- Rain shutoff devices (eligible for testing)
- Pressure-regulating sprinklers (under development)
- Multiple-stream, multiple-trajectory sprinklers (under development)
WaterSense Product Labeling
WaterSense is a voluntary, public-private partnership program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. WaterSense works to protect the future of national water supplies by promoting water-efficient products, practices and professionals.
- Are backed by independent, third-party testing and certification.
- Meet EPA’s specifications for water efficiency and performance.
- Will be supported by a national marketing campaign.
WaterSense has adopted SWAT’s testing protocol for weather-based irrigation controllers, with a draft specification in the final stages of review. Once the specification has been finalized, products that include necessary features and meet identified performance criteria will be eligible to carry the WaterSense label.
EPA expects WaterSense-labeled weather-based controllers to be on the market in 2011. Indoor products, including bathroom sink faucets, showerheads and toilets, are already available to consumers.