American Society of Civil Engineers

Residential Irrigation and Water Conservation Potential of Smart Irrigation Technologies in the Catawba River Basin

by R. L. Vick, Jr., (Graduate Research Assistant, North Carolina State University, Biological and Agricultural Engineering), G. L. Grabow, (Associate Professor, North Carolina State University, Biological and Agricultural Engineering), R. L. Huffman, (Associate Professor, North Carolina State University, Biological and Agricultural Engineering), and G. L. Miller, (Professor, North Carolina State University, Crop Science)
Section: Irrigation and Drainage, pp. 2709-2718, (doi:

     Access full text
     Purchase Subscription
     Permissions for Reuse  

Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2011: Bearing Knowledge for Sustainability
Abstract: A three year residential lake water use study in the Catawba River Basin was initiated in 2009 to assess current water withdrawals for landscape irrigation and the water conservation potential of "smart irrigation" technologies. The study is being conducted by North Carolina State University, on properties bordering Duke Energy managed lakes, in North Carolina and South Carolina, that withdraw lake water for landscape irrigation. Assessment of current irrigation water use began in 2009 with a survey to which over 1,400 residences responded (reflecting a 7.4% return rate). Survey results were used to select thirty-six residences (twelve on each of three lakes along the Catawba River) for further evaluation. Water meters with loggers were installed on the main lines of irrigation systems of the selected residences in the summer of 2009 to monitor lake water withdrawals for landscape irrigation under current practices. Two weather stations and four atmometers were also installed in the region to monitor reference evapotransporation during the study. Three types of smart irrigation technologies (two ET-based controllers and one soil-moisture sensor system) were installed at twenty-seven of the study sites at the beginning of the 2010 irrigation season. The technologies were distributed such that each lake had six sites with ET-based controllers, three sites with soil-moisture sensors, and three sites with no intervention, which would serve as a comparison group. Metering of irrigation water withdrawals continued throughout the 2010 irrigation season after installation of smart irrigation technologies. Turf quality assessments were made throughout the year using a visual turf quality rating and a Normalized Difference Vegetative Index (NDVI) obtained with a turf color meter. The study will conclude with data collected in the 2011 irrigation season.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Water management
River basins
North Carolina