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Real world water-saving solutions announced at CES 2023

Companies like Rachio and Moen are advertising new solutions to cut back on the scarce resource, with control right from your smartphone.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer
Reviewed by Alyson Windsor
Person in garden holding an iPhone with the open Moen app

The Moen mobile app lets users customize how they want their sprinklers to run, and when.

Moen

As a society, we're becoming increasingly conscious of the negative impact our water consumption has over our communities and ecosystems. Saving water has become a nationwide effort, and a downright necessity for states like California, currently experiencing record-breaking droughts.

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Setting up drought-tolerant landscaping is an excellent way to reduce water consumption, but for areas that don't allow for it, community gardens, or gardeners that love to grow their own food in their backyard, a smart solution, like those presented at CES by Rachio and Moen, could be the answer.

Rachio already manufactures a Smart Sprinkler Controller, and it debuted a Smart Hose Timer at CES 2023 to join the lineup. This device connects to your hose bib outside your home, and you connect your hose to it. It acts as a smart valve to automate how long your hose stays on, ensuring you never forget to leave the hose running. 

Highlights

  • Hose can be controlled via Rachio smartphone app.
  • Run automatic schedules.
  • Automatically skips watering if it rains using the Smart Hose Timer's location.
  • Integrated flow meter.

It's going on sale in March 2023 for the retail price of $99.

World-renowned faucet manufacturer Moen is a 2023 CES Innovation Award Honoree thanks to its new Smart Sprinkler Controller and Smart Wireless Soil Sensors. 

Going beyond turning your sprinklers on or off from your phone, this system's soil sensors monitor moisture levels in each zone, without the need to bury wires or sensors. The sensors send data to the smart sprinkler controller to make customized adjustments taking into consideration your soil composition and yard grade.

Highlights

  • Soil sensors allow for accurate watering to optimize water conservation, reducing water use by up to 30%.
  • Create custom watering schedules and control each zone independently.
  • Automatically skips watering on rainy days.
  • Easy installation with existing irrigation system.
  • The sensors are inserted flush into the soil like stakes, making for a quick setup.

Do smart irrigation systems save water?

If you have an irrigation system that you use consistently, you've probably found it comes on in unnecessary situations, like the day after a heavy rain when your garden is still soaked. I know I've seen sprinklers running while it was raining more than once. 

water sprinklers watering the lawn
JodiJacobson via Getty Images

The concept of a smart system that can be shut off remotely when it runs unnecessarily, or skip watering according to weather patterns is certain to save at least some water. Rachio claims to have saved over 50 billion gallons of water since 2014. That's the equivalent of one week of Niagara Falls waterflow or water consumed by 33 billion people brushing their teeth.

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And one like Moen's with soil sensors to help adjust watering accordingly to avoid watering wet soil is sure to take it to the next level with even more potential for saving water. The EPA estimates we'd all save at least 20% of the water used now by installing water-efficient fixtures and appliances, saving on costs and reducing the environmental impact of water waste.

What is WaterSense?

We've heard of EnergyStar for energy-efficient appliances and devices; WaterSense is a similar label for water and plumbing products. Products with a WaterSense certified label are 20% more water-efficient and perform as well or better than standard models. 

Aside from making your home more efficient, replacing standard fixtures with WaterSense-certified models will help you save money on water, and may make you eligible for credits with your local utility company -- as was the case for me when I replaced the toilets at my home.

Also: How to save on utility bills with 4 smart home devices

As far as home irrigation is concerned, replacing just the current sprinkler controller for a smart one in an average home can save up to 15,000 gallons of water, or 30% of water used, even while maintaining the home's existing sprinkler system.

How much water do sprinklers use?

One of the reasons why drought-tolerant landscaping is becoming more popular is because people are becoming more aware of how much water is used by landscape irrigation. According to the EPA, "as much as 50% of the water we use outdoors is lost due to wind, evaporation, and runoff caused by inefficient irrigation systems". 

One of these inefficient irrigation systems can waste up to 25,000 gallons of water a year. Simply watering an average-sized lawn for 20 minutes a day every day is the equivalent of taking 800 showers, or one year's worth of showers for the average family.

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