New IA Courses Focus on Water Savings Through Design and Technology

Two new Irrigation Association (IA) courses designed to bring the latest water-saving technology and practices to the landscape will debut at the 26th Annual International Irrigation Show in Phoenix.

The courses, Advanced Irrigation Design for Water Conservation and SMART Technologies for Irrigation Management, were created to help irrigation contractors and other professionals effectively use the latest equipment and information about efficient irrigation, said IA education director Dennis McKernan.

The irrigation design class, which replaces Advanced Head Layout, focuses on the design portion of the IA Turf and Landscape Irrigation Best Management Practices.

"This is a class that ties directly into those Best Management Practices," McKernan said. "You have to have a design that from the get-go puts the Best Practices to work."

The class is for irrigation designers who want to stay up with the latest technology, and landscape architects and landscape contractors who want to create designs that will ultimately cost their customers less money, McKernan said.

"It focuses on better management from the design perspective," McKernan said. "A lot of designers really aren't aware of how they can conserve water at the design level."

The course includes information about new and improved technologies that have come onto the scene in the last five years, including better software that can help evaluate designs and improved management tools like smart controllers, controller software, valves, sprinklers and especially nozzles, McKernan said.

Smart Technologies for Irrigation Management is designed to help contractors effectively use new "smart" technology. Local governments and water providers are getting behind the Smart Water Application Technology initiative and requiring its use, but in many cases contractors aren't aware of the technology.

"It's going to be very practical, very pragmatic," McKernan said. "It will help contractors understand where to install things and how to use and program new controllers."

"We've got legislators saying you have to use this technology, but contractors who don't know how to use it. They can go out and buy the stuff off the shelf, but they don't know how to install it. That's the glaring deficiency that we are trying to address," McKernan said.

The class will cover topics like where and how to install sensors as well as an in-depth look at the parameters used by ET-based controllers. "That's what's going to determine whether the technology works—not the technology, but the information put into the technologies," McKernan said.

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