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Want to save water? Zilker offers efficient smart irrigation

April showers bring May flowers, but you still may need to do some watering of your own. While this can turn into a water-wasting endeavor, it doesn’t have to. Zilker has launched a crowdfunding campaign for a smart irrigation device that allows users to control their water use without an in-ground sprinkler system.

Zilker uses a indoor “bridge” which communicates via 915 MHz with up to eight valves outdoors. The valves attach to exterior water faucets, and garden hoses are then connected to them. Together, the valve and the bridge monitor and control how much water is delivered to your lawn or plants. The device is able to make adjustments based on local weather data — hot weather of course means more watering, while Zilker will scale back if it has rained recently.  Users can also employ Zilker to see whether the faucet has been left running, if a hose is leaking, or if the batteries are low.

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From a water-saving perspective, Zilker’s integrated flow meter is especially effective; it measures consumption in gallons or inches rather than in minutes as many common sprinklers do. Users can then track their usage history online, thereby gaining a better understanding of their water bill.

Zilker cites EPA data indicating that nearly one-third of a home’s water is used outdoors, and that half of that amount is used inefficiently by watering systems. The company aims to minimize that wasted water, and estimates that Zilker can potentially save 800 billion gallons of water a year, not to mention its related ability to reduce water costs.

With the launch of the Kickstarter, consumers can buy the Zilker starter kit, which includes both a bridge and a valve, at a discounted rate. Additional valves can also be purchased, with each costing $89. The company expects to begin shipping Zilker systems in spring 2017.

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