89th American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting

Monday, 12 January 2009
Development of a turfgrass irrigation management system for North Carolina
Hall 5 (Phoenix Convention Center)
Mark S. Brooks, North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC; and R. Boyles, C. Peacock, D. Bowman, J. Reynolds, and D. Zahn
Poster PDF (134.5 kB)
Water supply issues are becoming significant economic and social concerns for many states, including North Carolina. Drought conditions in North Carolina during 2007 were the worst since modern weather records began in 1895. Drought is exacerbated by increasing population and increasing demands for water. The population of NC is projected to double in the next 65 years. Long-term weather predictions offer little guidance in what the future holds. This is compelling municipalities to develop long-range water conservation strategies.

The Turf Irrigation Management System (TIMS) was launched in June 2007 by the Department of Crop Science and the State Climate Office at NC State University. The simple interface to TIMS gives everyone, from the dedicated turf professional to the homeowner, help in making irrigation management decisions.

TIMS guides the user as they establish their individual account. Users provide their physical address and then answer a few simple questions about the type of grass, soil and irrigation system. TIMS then calculates irrigation needs based on up-to-date weather data. Weather and climate information is retrieved from the Climate Retrieval and Observations Network of the Southeast (CRONOS), an environmental observations database at the State Climate Office. Based on recent weather conditions, including precipitation and evapotranspiration estimates, and known crop irrigation demands, the suggested amount of irrigation is calculated. Results are given in minutes of irrigation needed to keep the user's lawn alive and healthy.

Our hope is that after a few weeks of use, users will save at least 25% of normal irrigation. If 100,000 people use this program to schedule irrigation, North Carolina could save millions of gallons of water and maintain healthier lawns. Additionally, the amount of over-watering will decrease thereby reducing silt-runoff, which is one of the most tenacious environmental concerns of NC's water systems. These benefits help mitigate water resource concerns from using potable water supplies in irrigation and potential economic hardships to the turf industry.

TIMS is a proven resource for helping homeowners conserve water. To date, there are 1,549 accounts using this decision support tool. It is available online for North Carolinians to calculate and track irrigation use:


Supplementary URL: http://www.turffiles.ncsu.edu/tims/