IBM today announced that Desert Mountain, an Arizona based golf and residential community, is using IBM analytics software to help the community reallocate and reduce water usage, save energy and cut operating costs.

Desert Mountain, with 4,500 residents and six golf courses, is already a leader in water conservation as the largest reclaimed water (26 million gallons) user in metro Phoenix-Scottsdale, AZ. The community will install analytics software to manage irrigation of all six of its championship grade golf courses and expects to reduce up to 10 percent of its water usage and generate an additional 10 percent savings in energy costs related to water pumping and distribution.

Using IBM Intelligent Operation Center software for Smarter Cities with IBM Business Partner UgMO Technologies’ Wireless Soil Moisture Sensor Solution, site managers can now have in-depth access to a variety of key data ranging from turf conditions, soil moisture, volume and frequency of watering, fertilizer application, distribution costs and weather forecasts. Accounting for all of these factors on an hourly or even daily basis can be a challenge for turf managers. The new solutions delivers real time data for managing irrigation systems, monitoring exact water supplies and allocating water with unprecedented speed and the potential to increase overall efficiency by 50 percent.

Water usage can now be monitored in real time from supply source to the soil enabling immediate corrective action, rather than waiting for a monthly water bill to view water and energy consumption after the fact. Turf managers can also immediately uncover leakage or low pressure issues that are often difficult to track down and take corrective action to ensure a healthier turf and reduce water loss and waste.

New capabilities will also reduce the amount of energy used to transport and treat irrigation water, as well as reduce the costs of these processes. Additionally, the collaboration moves the labor force from reactive to more proactive duties by providing the right insight gleaned from data on turf conditions.

With IBM’s analytics capabilities, employees can manage and view the overall status of irrigation operations through a single, unified view, in real time and provide access to advanced analytics capabilities to make it easy to analyze key metrics and trends. Sensors are buried underground to measure soil moisture, temperature and salinity levels at the root level up to six times every hour, 24 hours a day. All the data generated is then delivered to the IBM Intelligent Operations Center, a centralized solution that enables real-time communication and collaboration to help coordinate actions and respond to important events as they occur throughout the environment.

Previously, course managers would communicate via “sneaker net” — running back and forth to provide updates on course conditions such as moisture and salinity levels. Now, with sensors combined with the analytic capabilities of IBM’s Intelligent Operations Center, Desert Mountain has a complete overview of the golf course operations and can access information instantaneously, and glean insights from key data to make better decisions in minutes instead of days or weeks.

“Water is one of our most precious natural resources. Because its uses are so extensive, water is very difficult to manage,” said Bob Jones, Chief Operating Officer of Desert Mountain. “Desert Mountain has recognized its responsibility to reduce water use. We’ve taken many steps to achieve this goal with an approach that includes using advanced technologies to improve the efficiency of irrigation system programs and educate golf course managers and other water users about ongoing water conservation opportunities. This collaboration with IBM and UgMO provides real-time water information, helping to make environmentally sound and economical decisions about irrigation.”

IBM Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities and the UgMO solutions monitor and manage a variety of grounds such as golf courses, resorts, public parks, corporate and university campuses, and other turf-intensive facilities, providing operational insight into daily operations through centralized intelligence.

In addition, IBM Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities can be extended to help support a wide range of integration projects across the city or within agencies and departments. City leaders can adopt service solutions from IBM or IBM Partners that integrate city management of services such as public safety, transportation, water, building and energy management with the Intelligent Operation Center. Examples of city-wide uses supported by the Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities include the management of public safety, transportation and water.

“A well designed, analytics driven irrigation system can significantly reduce water waste by collecting and analyzing data about water transmission – how water flows, where it flows, how it’s used, how it’s lost and where it’s vulnerable to future losses,” said IBM Smarter Water Program Director Michael Sullivan. “The ability to monitor these systems in real time means that potential problems such as under or over watering, a burst pipe, a slow leak or a malfunctioning pump can be quickly identified and resolved – or even predicted and prevented.”