Regardless of where you call home, water scarcity and drought are two of the most visible — and pressing — climate change issues that affect us all. According to the latest stats from the National Integrated Drought Information System, 40.1% of the U.S. is experiencing drought conditions.
Drought is an upstream issue that affects people, wildlife, and businesses. Smaller crop yields drive up food prices. The lack of drinkable water forces animals to leave their natural habitats. Cities are also faced with finding ways to keep drinking water flowing as temperatures continue to rise and put children and the eldery at risk.
In 2018, the city of Cape Town, South Africa was the first city to reach Day Zero status. Day Zero is where a city or municipality runs out of drinking water and has to shut down their systems.
Thankfully, Cape Town has managed to turn their situation around through water management strategies and public conservation efforts.
Think global, act local
In our home community of Waterloo Region, residents and businesses are continuing to find ways to conserve water. Over 80% of the water used locally comes from ground sources including wells and aquifers — water that’s used for everything from drinking to growing some of the best corn you’ll find in Canada.
Residents also use the water to keep their lawns looking green. Regional government estimates show that almost 16% of our water is used for watering lawns. Each summer, a lawn watering bylaw comes into effect to help reduce that usage and conserve our water sources.
There are similar bylaws and regulations across the U.S. and Canada — but they all share a similar missing element to make them successful. For example, our bylaw uses house numbers to segment when homeowners can water their lawns.
But what if it’s your day to water and your lawn doesn’t need it?
That question is why we build Water My Lawn. The app helps homeowners conserve water by notifying them if they actually need to water their lawns or if they can leave it until the next watering period. Water My Lawn informs residents of their watering needs to avoid unnecessarily watering their lawns taking past and future weather conditions into account.
How does Water My Lawn work?
Water My Lawn uses weather data from the previous five days, as well as the weather forecast for the next five days to determine whether your lawn needs watering today. Water My Lawn will even notify you if it’s the right day to water — you simply need to enable notifications.
Water My Lawn takes precipitation and evapotranspiration into account when calculating whether your lawn needs watering. Evapotranspiration is the combination of the release of water from plant leaves, where they draw water from the ground through their roots, and normal evaporation of water from surfaces.
The evapotranspiration rate is affected by local temperature, windspeed, humidity, and sunshine. Unless it is about to rain very soon, Water My Lawn generally advise you to water if the balance between precipitation and evapotranspiration is less than 10mm for the ten days centered around the current date.
Does my sprinkler system affect the app?
Definitely. Every sprinkler system is different and Water My Lawn has a setting where you can set the flow rate for your sprinkler system. Watch this short video to learn how.
Why did we make this app?
Water My Lawn is one of our BitBakery Labs projects, which give us the opportunity to experiment with other technologies. Our team used Water My Lawn as a chance to develop further expertise with Google Flutter and Firebase.
As trusted partners in development, our team works with our clients to develop mobile and web applications. Get in contact with us to learn more about how we can help your organization.