Assessment of water savings using soil water sensors and ET controllers in urban settings

Water use efficiency is becoming increasingly important in south Florida, particularly Miami-Dade County, due to the many demands on our potable water supply. Irrigation of landscape and turfgrass accounts for more than 50% of potable water use in some areas.  Research has shown that use of soil moisture sensors to automatically control irrigation can result in water savings as high as 70-90% depending on brand and irrigation frequency (1, 2, or 7 d/wk).

This project (2007-2012) is funded by Miami Dade County Water and Sewer Department and is in collaboration with Miami Dade County Cooperative Extension Service.

Project objectives consist of working with Home Owner Associations (HOAs), Single Family Homes (SFHs), and Municipal spaces to install soil moisture sensors or ET controllers and water meters to complete a pair-wise study at each site.  Data will help determine water savings with and without the soil moisture sensor automating irrigation.

Results of this study indicate water savings of 34% for the dry season and 71% for the wet season for HOAs and 37% for the dry season and 48% for the wet season for SFHs using soil moisture sensors. Results also showed savings with ET controllers with 41% savings in the dry season and 46% savingings in the wet season.

More information may be found at: Including links to videos related to this project.



McCready, M.S., M.D. Dukes and K. Migliaccio. 2009. Basic Repairs and Maintenance for Home Landscape Irrigation Systems. AE451. Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, IFAS, UF. URL:, 7pgs.

Description of project in a poster : pdf

Presentation: pdf

ET controller links: UF Dan Rutland and UF/Extension



  • Laura Vasquez (FYN Coordinator, Miami-Dade County Cooperative Extension Service)
  • Mary McCready (former Miami-Dade County Cooperative Extension Service)

This project was being completed with the technical assistance of Michael Gutierrez. Additional assistance is being provided by Ms. Nicole Dobbs (MS graduate student).


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