Smart Controllers | Regional Water Providers Consortium

Smart Controllers

smart watering system

Irrigation technology has come a long way, resulting in smarter and more effective sprinkler systems. One of the best ways to make sure that a well-maintained sprinkler system is operating efficiently is to select a WaterSense labeled smart irrigation controller.

A smart controller, also known as a weather-based irrigation controller, is an internet-enabled irrigation device. It adjusts how long and how often your irrigation system runs based on how much water your landscape needs. Rather than running your sprinklers on a fixed schedule, smart controllers use local weather data to automatically adjust how much your system waters. 

Products range in price from $50 - $300 and are available as stand-alone systems or as an add-on device. Some water providers offer smart controller rebates to their customers.


Benefits of Smart Controllers

  • Helps Keep Your Landscape Healthy and Beautiful: Smart controllers help landscapes stay healthy by watering plants only when needed. This prevents over- and under-watering.
  • Potential Cost Savings: Efficient water use may lower water bills during the summer when outdoor water use is highest.
  • Regional Water Supply Management: Using water efficiently at home supports regional conservation efforts. This helps water providers manage our region's water supply.
  • Convenience: To work efficiently, standard irrigation controllers need to be manually adjusted throughout the watering season. Smart controllers automatically adjust the amount of water applied as conditions change.
  • Mobile: Many smart controllers have companion apps that allow you to manage your irrigation system completely from your mobile device. Some can even send alerts in the event of a system malfunction or leak.


A WaterSense labeled smart controller can save the average U.S. home 7,600 gallons of water per year1. That's enough for 260 loads of laundry2!


Look for the WaterSense Label when Purchasing Your Smart Irrigation Controller

WaterSense labeled smart controllers have been independently certified for efficiency and performance. They come in a variety of models that range in price, complexity, and capacity.

View a list of all EPA WaterSense labeled smart controllers. For more detailed information on labeled controllers, their benefits, and function, read the WaterSense Weather-Based Irrigation Controller Mini Report (PDF).


Tips for Installing and Maintaining your Smart Controller

  • Install it yourself or hire a pro? A smart controller is only as smart as we make it. So, when you program your controller take the time and care to get it right. This will help make sure that you get the water savings that you are after. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's directions carefully if you plan to install it yourself. Or, hire an experienced Oregon licensed landscape construction professional to do it for you.
  • Make your controller "smart" by giving it the correct information. Regardless of who installs your new controller, it will need to be carefully programmed. For this step, you will need the following information: sprinkler type, plant type, plant water needs, soil type, ground slope, and amount of sun or shade. Once set up, your smart controller will also use weather data from an on-site station or a data network to determine how much water your plants need each week.
  • Do a periodic walk-through. Automatic sprinklers typically run in the early morning when we are asleep which means that if something isn’t working correctly, you may not catch it. Take 5-15 minutes each month to run each zone of your sprinkler system and check for issues. Look for broken sprinkler heads or sprinklers that need to be turned so that they are watering your plants and not the pavement. Check the table on this page to find out if your water provider offers free landscape water audits to their customers.
  • Get seasonal sprinkler maintenance tips. Make sure your sprinklers are in great shape by checking for ways to maintain your sprinklers all year-round.

EPA WaterSense (2017)

Residential End Uses of Water, Version 2 (2016)