When it comes to their irrigation systems, most homeowners set the watering schedule and forget about it, but when the schedule is based on the hottest and driest months and not adjusted when the season changes, the result is overwatering for much of the year.

The EPA aims to change this by adding the WaterSense label to irrigation controllers that monitor watering needs based on local weather data. These weather-based units save water by signaling the irrigation system to apply water only when plants need it – reducing annual water bills and offering convenience and peace of mind while keeping landscapes healthy.

Controllers with the WaterSense label should be available in spring 2012. Like all WaterSense labeled products, WaterSense labeled irrigation controllers must be independently certified to meet EPA’s criteria for water efficiency and performance.

Residential outdoor watering in the United States accounts for more than 7 billion gallons of water each day, mainly for landscape irrigation, according to the EPA.

“As much as half of the water we use on our landscapes goes to waste due to evaporation, wind, and improperly scheduled irrigation systems,” says Sheila Frace, EPA Office of Water director. “WaterSense-labeled irrigation controllers are designed to do the thinking for you and apply water only when needed, to ensure a healthy landscape that doesn’t waste water.”