Residential outdoor water use in the United States accounts for more than 9 billion gallons of water each day, mainly for landscape irrigation. Experts estimate that as much as 50 percent of this water is wasted due to overwatering caused by inefficiencies in irrigation methods and systems. Irrigation control technologies can significantly reduce overwatering by applying water only when plants need it.
WaterSense labeled irrigation controllers, which act like a thermostat for your sprinkler system telling it when to turn on and off, use local weather and landscape conditions to tailor watering schedules to actual conditions on the site, instead of irrigating using a controller with a clock and a preset schedule.
WaterSense labeled controllers allow watering schedules to better match plants' water needs. With proper installation, programming, and maintenance, homeowners and businesses can use WaterSense labeled controllers instead of standard clock-timer controllers on their existing systems, and no longer worry about wasted water.
To earn the WaterSense label, landscape irrigation controllers must be able to adequately meet the watering needs of a landscape without overwatering. As with all other WaterSense labeled products, WaterSense labeled controllers will be independently certified to ensure that they meet the WaterSense criteria for efficiency and performance.
Replacing a standard clock timer with a WaterSense labeled irrigation controller can save an average home nearly 8,800 gallons of water annually. If every home in the United States with an automatic sprinkler system installed and properly operated a WaterSense labeled controller, we could save $435 million in water costs and 120 billion gallons of water across the country annually from not overwatering lawns and landscapes. That's equal to the annual household water needs of nearly 1.3 million average American homes. WaterSense labeled controllers can also be a water-smart solution for larger landscapes (1 pg, 754.4KB, About PDF), including such as schools, hotels, and office buildings.
EPA released a final WaterSense specification for weather-based irrigation controllers on November 3, 2011.
- WaterSense Specification for Weather-Based Irrigation Controllers (PDF) (24 pp, 185K)
- WaterSense Specification for Weather-Based Irrigation Controllers Supporting Statement (PDF) (13 pp, 121K)
- Supplemental Guidance for WaterSense Certification and Labeling of Weather-Based Irrigation Controllers (PDF) (11 pp, 80K)
Please note: WaterSense has prepared software that the licensed certifying bodies will use to administer the performance test protocol as described in the specification. Manufacturer partners may request a copy of the software by contacting the WaterSense Helpline at email@example.com or (866) WTR- SENSE (987-7367). The helpline cannot provide technical support for the software. EPA only provides technical support for the software to its licensed certifying bodies as part of the certification process.
For more information about the weather-based irrigation controller specification development process, including the draft specification, public response to the draft specification, EPA's response to the public comments, please visit the Specification for Weather-Based Irrigation Controller Background Materials page.
Manufacturers that produce weather-based irrigation controllers meeting EPA's efficiency and performance criteria can apply to have their products certified to earn the WaterSense label. Before submitting products for testing, manufacturers must have a partnership agreement with EPA in place. Visit the manufacturer section on the partner page to learn more.