Tool for affordable water conservation

The makers of WaterDex say they are addressing a real home improvement problem: excessive outdoor watering.

Landscaping is a big drain on water resources across the country, typically accounting for 60% to 70% of residential water consumption. To make matters worse, homeowners typically overwater their lawns by 20% to 50%.

A California company claims to have developed a simple, low-cost irrigation controller that helps eliminate outdoor water waste. The device, called WaterDex, overrides existing residential irrigation controllers and provides consumers with an easy-to-use dial that can be set on a daily, weekly or monthly basis to zip code-specific watering indexes, which are compiled using historic and realtime evapotranspiration data.

Developed by Irvine-based Rockrose Technology, WaterDex has gotten the attention of the organizers of the WaterSmart Innovations Conference and Exposition, who have invited Rockrose co-founder Matt Davenport to give a formal presentation on the WaterDex product during the Oct. 3 to 5 conference in Las Vegas.

The conference is organized by the Southern Nevada Water Authority in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's WaterSense Program and other public and private partnerships. 

"WaterDex not only has the ability to help consumers reduce their water bills, but if enough people use the product it could significantly reduce water waste at a time when water agencies across the country are facing increasing shortages," Davenport said.

Water agencies in California and across the United States have been encouraging consumers to purchase weather sensitive irrigation controllers because overwatered lawns are the single biggest source or residential water waste.

But smart controllers have not been widely used by consumers because they are too expensive and too complicated to use. The typical smart controller costs $200 or more, while WaterDex retails for less than half that amount.

WaterDex is easier to use than either standard or smart irrigation controllers because it overrides both kinds of devices with a simple and ease to use dial. Consumers simply visit and enter their zip code to find the appropriate watering index setting for their WaterDex dial. WaterDex then turns the sprinklers on and off on its own, based on the selected watering index setting.

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