Reasons why Texas A&M study of smart irrigation controllers was better than IA SWAT testing smart irrigation controllers and the same as IA testing.

A smart controller testing facility was established by the Irrigation Technology Center at Texas A&M University in College Station in 2008 in order to evaluate their performance from an "enduser" point of view. The "end-user" is considered to be the landscape or irrigation professional (such as a Licensed Irrigator in Texas) installing the controller. Controllers are tested using the Texas Virtual Landscape which is composed of 6 different zones with varying plant materials, soil types and depths, and precipitation rates.

Using 6 different zones with varying plants is similar to the IA SWAT testing.The improvement of the Texas A&M testing over the IA SWAT testing is that the SWAT testing only reports on 30 days which is too short to provide meaning results on seasonal performance of water conservation. The Texas A&M testing extends over 238 days from spring thru fall. It does not cover the winter months when much water can be saved or wasted. But 238 does give a better picture of seasonal performance than 30 days in the IA SWAT testing protocol.

Both the IA SWAT testing of smart irrigation controllers and the Texas testing only tested one controller from each manufacturer. So no statistical conclusions can be drawn as was done in the California testing. No conclusions about water conservation can be made with confidence based on either the IA SWAT testing or the Texas A&M testing of smart irrigation controllers.

Both tests only take the controllers as program by the most skilled people in the factory or the university, not by the general public or contractors as was done in the California testing.

Also both the IA SWAT testing and the Texas A&M testing did NOT allow changes to programming after the testing began. Part of the reason is that both tests did not allow reprogramming is they tested the controller without any plants. In both tests the controllers are connected to a data logger which records the start and stop times for each irrigation event and station (or hydrozone). The California testing was done in the real world with irrigation systems connected to the controllers and contractors or homeowners reprogramming as indicated by the health of the plants.