Smart sprinklers keep lawns green without wasting water

James Dunleavy's old sprinkler controller didn't always work the way he wanted it to.

"I had an old-fashioned controller. It did have a rain sensor, so if it were raining or it just rained, it wouldn't run. But if we had a hard rain before, it would still turn on the sprinklers the following day," said Dunleavy.

Now he has a smart sprinkler controller that he can program using an app.

"It waters when it needs to. It doesn't water when it doesn't. It seems to be able to predict when it is going to rain, so even if it hadn't rained, it's a day when it's supposed to rain that night, doesn't run," he continued.

"Smart irrigation controllers take the guesswork out of how much water your lawn needs to stay healthy and beautiful without overwatering," said Amelia Brown of Tampa Bay Water.

Dunleavy found out that he qualified for a rebate from Tampa Bay Water Wise when he purchased the controller online.

"Customers have to buy a WaterSense smart irrigation controller and those can be purchased at a Lowes, a Home Depot, or online. Our rebate provides $125 towards the actual device and then $125 for the labor to install it," said Brown.

"Used the contractor list from Tampa Bay Water to find someone to install it," said Dunleavy.

He's had it for a few months and said he's already saving money. 

"At least about $20 to $30 a month so far. So far it's probably already paid for itself," he offered.

"Homeowners can really benefit particularly from the smart irrigation controller because watering your lawn can be up to half of your water bill and these devices typically save you 30% on your outdoor water use, so residents can save water and money," said Brown.

And these smart choices could make the grass greener in the bigger picture. 

"Regionally, if we all just save five gallons a day, we can save so much water that down the road in 10 years that may delay or prevent the need to develop more expensive water supplies for the region," added Brown.

LINK: For information on the Tampa Bay Water Wise rebate program, visit