Smart Irrigation Month Q&A: Calsense | Irrigation and Lighting Feature
July 18, 2022
Smart irrigation is only made possible due to the companies, providers, manufacturers and individuals that push the envelope daily when it comes to efficient water use. To celebrate this year’s Smart Irrigation Month sponsored by HydroPoint, Irrigation & Lighting magazine sought to highlight these sustainability champions through a series of Q&As spanning through July.
Mike Haldane, director of commercial operations at Calsense, Carlsbad, California, breaks down Calsense’s unique smart irrigation involvement, what it means to them as a company and how they’ll push for an even better future of irrigation.
Calsense, Carlsbad, California
Mike Haldane, Director of Commercial Operations
What does smart irrigation look like to Calsense?
For us at Calsense, smart irrigation is about working with our customers to use technology, data — both weather and performance — and collaboration to continuously optimize the irrigation algorithm, saving water, labor and by extension, the planet. This is critically important in the western United States where, with few exceptions, rain is rare during the warmer months and droughts are increasingly common. But it’s also important in the eastern United States. Because climate change is bringing unpredictable weather to this region as well and since potable water is often used to irrigate — which takes energy and labor — waste can occur even in areas where there’s arguably plenty of water available. Quite simply, changing weather patterns are necessitating more irrigation, and that’s causing increased demand on existing infrastructure. This is why we’re seeing water rates increasing in both the West and the East.
How does Calsense promote smart irrigation?
The biggest hurdle for smart irrigation is the fact that it requires investment, and the capital dollars to do so aren’t always available, even with a strong return on that investment. Cities, counties and states tend to deploy smart irrigation over many years, simply because their capital budgeting process negates the ability to do it all at once. The problem with this approach is that they only get partial benefit in the early years, and it can take 10 years or more to get to the full benefit that smart irrigation brings. For example, if the horizon of investment is 10 years, they would see one-tenth of the value in year one, two-tenths of the value in year two and so on. To solve this problem, Calsense introduced Irrigation Management as a Service, which enables these customers to have access to the full value up front, while still paying over that same 10-year period.
This year’s Smart Irrigation Month theme is “Proud of our past. Focused on the future.” What makes you proud of smart irrigation’s past, and how are you focusing on smart irrigation’s future?
For more than 35 years, Calsense has pioneered innovation that is, in many ways, the gold standard in smart irrigation today, not only in our technology and products, but in our commitment and support for our customers. That’s our legacy, but our mission continues: To create sophisticated smart irrigation solutions built on a foundation of technology, education and partnership. At the same time, we’re creating new ways to make our solutions easier to buy, install and manage — to make smart irrigation as accessible and beneficial as possible for our customers.
What are the best ways you’ve learned to encourage clients or customers to use smart irrigation practices?
We all live on planet Earth and it’s up to all of us to preserve its life-sustaining characteristics. Preservation means a lot of things, but at Calsense, our part is to contribute to a sustainable future by saving the world’s most precious resource: water.
I mentioned “education” earlier, which for us means bringing the need for water conservation to the forefront of the discussion. Conversations like this are an example of how we do that, and we’ve also put into place a plethora of programs to reach as many people as possible to promote our message, including speaking engagements, feature articles and opinion pieces, case studies, reference customers, tradeshows, advertising, campaigns and the like.
What makes you a champion of promoting smart irrigation? Is there something new or different you’d like to try in order to improve smart irrigation?
For Calsense, we are championing the cause, designing the best solutions possible and assisting each customer with the help, support and procurement options they need to succeed. We’re all in this together, and our job is to make it as easy as possible for our customers to implement smart irrigation. This is our priority.