Although news of the prolonged water crisis in South Africa continues to make almost daily news headlines, it is hard to understand if anyone is actually taking a blind bit of notice to the call for action by Municipalities and Government or making any visible effort to minimally reduce consumption. This is particularly evident in schools, where, with thousands of learners needing to be provided with the best possible facilities, school's Facility Managers are caught between a rock and a very hard place.
The basis instruction is: keep the sports field green and gardens flourishing. The only way to do this of course is to continue to irrigate - lawn and plants need water. The only changing practice may now be this is likely to be taking place during the night...if we don't see it happening, it's not really happening.
Farmers have for years "managed" their water consumption in order to reduce costs, although it is well known that optimum irrigation will also increases crop yield. Some knowledge and technology is needed to effectively achieve this of course, but it's not rocket science and it will save valuable resource.
"In urban and suburban areas, landscapes and residential lawns are using soil moisture sensors to interface with an irrigation controller. Connecting a soil moisture sensor to a simple irrigation clock will convert it into a "smart" irrigation controller that prevents irrigation cycles when the soil is already wet, e.g. following a recent rainfall event."
It could therefore be suggested that the time has come (or long gone) for us to look at maintenance of school's green spaces from a more technological perspective. Facility Managers will most certainly be appreciative of the knowledge and guidance, as they are very conscious that help is needed.
The fact that irrigation is responsible for a large proportion (this could be up to 90%) of water consumption in schools, a very interesting side benefit could well be significant cost saving...