5th UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Michelle Atkinson
Session Name Water Use in Agriculture
Author(s) Michelle  Atkinson,  UF/IFAS Extension - Manatee County (Presenting Author)
  Kati Migliaccio,  UF Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department
  Michael Dukes, UF Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department
  Using Smart Irrigation Apps to Show the Value of Extension to Local Government
  I am applying for an Extension Scholarship Extension needs to show their value to local county government who often fund local extension services. One way that the UF/IFAS Manatee County Extension Service is showing its value is by helping Manatee County save irrigation water on county owned properties. Using the Urban Lawn SmartIrrigation App, property site managers with the help of Extension are setting up the SmartIrrigation App on smart phones and tablets. Using the app instead of a set time-based schedule for irrigation, county site managers can provide irrigation amounts to turf that more closely match water needs. In programing the soil type and unique zone characteristics like sprinkler type and number of sprinklers in the zone, an irrigation schedule is generated. Extension staff provide detailed zone information to the site managers for app set up as well as completing a full irrigation evaluation on the site to correct inefficiencies in the system. The Smartirrigation Turf app provides an easy way to determine your irrigation schedule for better management of turf. The irrigation schedule it generates is based on real-time ET data at a weather station near the system location. Using this app for irrigation is expected to reduce irrigation amounts annually by 25%–30% if the app-suggested schedules are followed. On sites that have been evaluated and Extension staff made recommendations that saved 30% overage usage. Learning Objectives: As the Water Conservation Agent and supervisor of the Mobile Irrigation Lab in Manatee County, I hope to get ideas or gain knowledge of new water saving technology, water related messaging, successful programming, trends, and sustainable management of water resources. This knowledge gain would be carried into local programming for the residents and professional irrigation contractors in Manatee County. We are currently surveying our Mobile Irrigation Lab clients with Dr. Randell Cantrell’s Decision-Ade questions (http://ascelibrary.org/doi/10.1061/%28ASCE%29AE.1943-5568.0000176) that may map areas to show where we have a greater influence for behavior change. It is through networking and listening to other successful programs that we discovered this tool.