Flex scheduling and water saving

how will water saving be calculated under flex scheduling?

for example, flex scheduling skipped today…shouldn’t that be a water savings?

i will assume that the number of estimated gallons for each zone gets added to the saved portion only if that zone is skipped because of reported precipitation. im almost positive in my own observations this is how it currently works and i would not expect this to be changed going forward.

having said that, im more often incorrect than correct so @franz or @emil will set me straight.

right, but with flex scheduling your schedule can change every night, so it doesn’t appear to be adding to calculation when a watering is rescheduled. With flex, I don’t believe, there is any such thing as skipped because the whole schedule is dynamic. Nothing is static.

well, skipping a schedule because the humidity, wind speed or temp not depleting the water fast enough is not a water savings, where as measured percip from mother nature is. currently the flexies can skip a zone for multiple reasons and not all of those are water saving events.

I would think any time you have a date to water and the system doesn’t water because it’s not needed is a savings?

not if you paid for the water to go into the ground in the first place, just because the water you paid for 3 days ago didnt evaporate away by today, i dont see that as water saved, you still paid for it. if it rained 3 days ago and a schedule was skipped because of that rain, i would expect that to be saved because it is water that i didnt put out.

see, if you go look at the gallons used chart, it will be very confusing to me why the gallons saved bar is almost as tall as the gallons used bar. then i would look at my history and say, wait, it doesnt 2x the water this year that it did last year, maths are not computing correctly.

i guess it is a difference in opinion, but i like it this way…it’s easier to gauge the efficacy of the controller.

so what is the definition of saved? Flex blurs these lines…Because you don’t have a fixed schedule to understand skipping…

yea, i agree, and poor rachio will never win in this scenario, i think that definition is going to mean different things to different ppl.

for me, it takes a discrete amount of water to keep turf alive and every gallon i dont pay for is a saved gallon to me, anything else is just dealing with the dynamics of evaporation and evapotranspiration.

honestly, with flexies, i think we need a handful of reports to help provide some telemetry.


I agree with that…

@ghctim and @plainsane, thanks for the discussion on this before I had a chance to reply. You both summarized the discussion we had internally about how to calculate savings on flex schedules. With the 2.0 launch, we will not have any savings from flex schedules reporting, however, we will be tracking various data points to report on at a later date once we have a baseline of data to compare against. Ideally, we would need to know a few data sets to properly record water savings, which include:

  • Old watering schedule (pre Iro)
  • Watering time on Fixed Schedule and any savings from old watering schedule
  • Savings from Water Budgeting Feature (if enabled)
  • Watering time on Flex Schedules and any savings from Flex Schedule
  • Skipped watering times from active rain sensor
  • Savings on runoff from Smart Cycle

At this time, the water savings are based on schedules skipped due to rain delays (aka weather intelligence) only. We have lots of room to grow in reporting and hope to revaluate this after our 2.0 launch.

I hope this helps. Let us know if you have any questions.

Best, Emil

I know I’m a new Rachio user (and I really like the product so far), but I read this thread with interest. IMHO, there are so many variables that make up “saving” water that it is a totally useless number (especially when it gets added up for the community as a whole) and is just a waste on screens. It is meaningless. I can see where it could be useful for someone who has currently been using the system one way, and wants to make a change to their schedules, to see what it will do on an individual device basis, but that’s all I come up with for usefulness. Is there something I’m missing?

I tend to agree. We still haven’t really figured out a way, at least with flex schedules, to fully quantify flex savings. There are some brute force things we can do (assume you would have watered 2/3 x per week and then interpolate savings) that might not be ideal.

Using fixed schedules + our virtual rain sensor feature, now that is easy to quantify.

We are still working on this, and eventually might end up with your conclusion.


It seems odd that the “Water Savings” display resoloutely remains at 0. Surely I’ve saved SOME water! So I’m curious what the water savings field means and how its calculated. I can think of two obvious ways of looking at water savings.

My old timer watered each zone for 10 to 15 minutes, one to three cycles per watering day, three times a week. During the start of the season, one cycle was enough. When Texas heat inched up, two cycles per watering day. When the heat became oppressive, three cycles per night. So we had anywhere from 65 to 195 minutes of watering three times a week. With the rain we’ve been having, our next scheduled watering is two weeks away. That means I’m saving 3 days x 2 weeks x 65 minutes of watering, or about 390 minutes of watering compared to last week. I have no idea how many gallons that is.

How often flex will run is up in the air, but I suspect that we’re skipping 2 or 3 flex waterings because of rain. And that is also a savings in the new paradigm.

With the new scheduling about to be released, this is probably moot, but I am curious how water savings were, and will be, calculated.

Good observation, we still haven’t figured out a great way to back-into flex water savings for your reports.

Currently, water savings are based on rain skips. With the addition of climate skip (2.5 release coming Monday) which uses flex concepts, this will be another way to track savings.

The last part of savings we have yet to incorporate is our monthly seasonal shift which will take a bit of logic to derive. :wink:

Hope this helps and great questions.


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I know I’m reviving an old thread, but wanted to throw my thoughts out there.

For Flex schedules, I would consider any water that comes from rain as a savings. The intelligent features might be saving us water over a dumb timer, but as discussed, quantifying those savings is kind of comparing a thing against a hypothetical other thing. The thing that is entirely clear to me and makes me happy, is that today instead of adding .43 inches of water to my lawn, it only added .38 due to the .05 I received over night.

In AZ we don’t get a lot of rain. You could probably compare the forecast ET (?) against the actual weather modified ET and consider that delta a savings, or build on that forecast with a rolling average and call reduced sprinkler run time a savings because actual ET fell below what a non-weather aware sprinkler would do. However, the bonus gravy from using Rachio that felt like real savings to me this morning were the gallons not sprayed on my lawn because they fell from the sky.

If the programming team is sitting around with nothing to do (right?) then you could very easily (from an interface standpoint, less so from a “building the algorithms to track and update the database” standpoint) offer two or three methods of computation that are user selectable from a little config menu in the corner of the box. The descriptions are not hard to write conceptually and, for my preferred case, accumulating inches of precipitation as gallons saved each month is straightforward.

I’ve never been so enthusiastic about my lawn in my life. I’ve absolutely loved my Rachio and the ridiculous amount of time I’ve spent measuring water in little cups, repairing sprinklers, and cruising message boards. Keep up the good work.


I would also like to voice my opinion on the matter.

I’ve had my Racho unit running for about a month now, and it still says “0 gallons saved” in my stats. Given the amount of downpour we’ve had, there should have been a significant number here by now.

I know the unit has skipped watering schedules due to rain, so I know it works; which means that the Rachio team still haven’t figured out how to account for the water saved when on a flex schedule.

While the math and variables might be trick, I consider it a flaw/bug, given that an unrestricted flex schedule should be the optimal setting and primary use for the Rachio, giving the best savings possible. That should be noted somewhere, and not with a big ‘0’.

Possible solution: :slight_smile:

Consider a “flex” schedule where there’s no rain detection, no sun/cloud/shade/evaporation coefficient detection, ever. Call it “static seasonal”.

This should give the “best fit” watering schedule for the type of lawn, shrubs, flowers, which is periodic and doesn’t change, except for seasonal adjustments, which is basically what all “dumb” units support.

Now measure this “static seasonal” schedule up against the active flex schedule, but with all sensing turned on. That’s your full water savings 100%.

An advanced feature would be to also support rain sensors, which a field to alter how long a rain sensor would disable the “static seasonal” program from turning on based on actual precipitation. Alas, how long it would take for the cork to dry out and allow a “dumb” unit to start watering again.

A super-advanced feature would be to allow someone to enter their previous “dumb” unit schedule (still allowing for seasonal adjustment), and measure against that. It wouldn’t handle people who where constantly changing their “dumb” units, but really, their additional savings would probably be minimal, and I’d say that’s a 1%, not worth supporting.

Comments? Other ideas?

I just don’t want to see a “0 gallons saved”, when I’m using the system with the most optimal settings!

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I don’t know how I could ever expect Rachio to come up with any kind of valid “savings”, there are just too many variations – and to me, it’s just like when I buy something and the clerk tells me that I saved $xx.xx — I didn’t save anything, I spent money on something that I thought was worth spending money on. So for me, the important figure would be how much water did I actually use. And even with that, until Rachio can see my meter reading, any of that is going to be an estimate only, based on how accurately I tell Rachio what I have.

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It really isn’t that hard, but I know most people want to add all sorts of weird variables to complicate things.

There’s really only 2 things to keep track of:
1. What you did before (“dumb schedule”)
2. What you’re doing now (“smart schedule”)
and the difference is the cost decrease(savings)/increase incurred.

Now, the default setup process can easily create a “dumb schedule”, which would be the same as the “smart schedule”, just without all the sensor input. Why? Because the same schedule could have been entered into a standard irrigation unit, even if the individual zones can different schedules due to all the various factors entered (slope, vegetation, soil type, etc). So the “saved” would be where the smartness comes in, alas where the unit doesn’t turn on the sprinklers due to previous/anticipated precipitation, air humidity, cloud cover, you name it.

For example, in my previous unit i had programmed 4min waterings per zone (slope), 3 iterations (clay soil), 30min wait period (clay soil), where each zone had different number of days due to difference in vegetation and shade. Yes, my unit was dumb, but the schedule was smart, but it could not take into account the other variables, due to the unit I used. But it was pretty darn close to optimal without those factors.

So by following the default, you get the water saved by being a smart unit, but of course, not compared to what you had before, if you had a dumb schedule, on a dumb unit. That’s what I noted as the “super-advanced feature”, where you could input your old schedule to get even more accurate savings model.

So what would it really take? Just have the Rachio create a “virtual” schedule which represents the dumb/previous schedule, and measure on/off differences between the “virtual” and active schedules. Done. Easy.

If you want accurate gallons used, I guess install a Flow Sensor?

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