There are a few things we look for at the savewater!® Alliance. Water efficiency is a good start; good long term research is always valuable; and smart use of online engagement tools is pretty attractive, too.
The new program, SmartGardenWatering, is an interactive website that allows you to design ideal gardens based on local suburb soil and weather conditions and individual water use techniques. There is also a social networking aspect of the site, where users can compare and discuss gardens.
This last point is particularly interesting for online gardeners. The program allows you to load a detailed model of your garden, including plant species, and share it with the gardening community or your facebook friends. Alternatively you can trawl your local area to see what works for your neighbours who have chosen to share their gardens.
The program combines horticulture and water management expertise from Geoff Connellan at the Department of Resource Management and Geography and Information Technology expertise from the Department of Information Systems at the University of Melbourne.
“Once a garden is designed, a scientific watering model creates a monthly watering schedule for the gardener that incorporates specific characteristics such as plant, soil and mulch types, local weather conditions and the type of watering technique used. The program will even tell you when your water tank will run dry based on your watering schedule” Mr Connellan said. “The model is based on a three year research project on the water needs of different plants and the efficiencies of different irrigation systems and the effect of soil type, mulch and slope on water use”
“This makes designing and maintaining a sustainable garden extremely easy.”
Dr Jon Pearce from the Department of Information Systems, who lead the design team, said that social networking is a great asset to home gardeners as they can now see what other gardeners are doing and also share information and experiences on smart water use.
“The program will not only help people save money on water bills and use water sustainably, but will also create a unique space where people can network and share ideas and thoughts about gardening.”
The software has been designed for the Melbourne and Geelong areas but it is hard to imagine such a good idea wont be shared. Our colleagues at Melbourne University have agreed to let savewater!® host the site on the gardening page at www.savewater.com.au.
Have you got a garden on SmartGardenWatering? Let us know! Post a link in the comments below and we’ll ‘Like’ it on Facebook.