Irrigation Management – A 2 Wire Irrigation System

We are in the middle of summer and the watering season is in full swing. On a corporate campus, telephony was lost with a 2 wire irrigation system. This phone line is just one of dozens of telecommunications networks on this campus. So what’s the problem with this?

Used by irrigation manager

Well, this particular telephone line was used by the irrigation manager to connect via a telephone modem to the on-site irrigation control device that controlled all of the property’s watering schedules. It is an irrigation system that has covered over 30 acres of landscape, a soccer field, a baseball / softball field, a green field, and nearly 200 irrigation control valves. The entire system was shut down due to a hacked telephone line. From time to time there is a loss of connection with the site, which can be caused by several reasons.

The power supply to the site may have been interrupted, which would disable the phone’s modem and interrupt contact. Or the phone number has been canceled by the customer because the phone number is only used for irrigation management purposes, and some of the customer’s employees believe that the phone number is not being used at all. Regardless of the reason, the only way to spot the problem is to visit the site.

About the device with the phone modem

Now on this site, the CCU (Telephone Modem Unit) is located in the inner room of the campus. This room has been a guard room for several years, but recently everything has changed. Unbeknownst to the irrigation manager, this room has been remodeled, which, of course, meant that the phone line was cut off and problem identified.

However, simply connecting the telephone line to the wall was not a solution. Part of the upgrade included deactivating the previously active telephone jack for the CCU. In fact, all telephone connections in this room (there are at least a dozen of them) have been completely cut off. In addition to this, the client decided that the CCU should be moved to a different location.

The crux of this situation was that there was no ready-made way to run campus irrigation … within days. Note that this was in the middle of the watering season, so a situation arose that required at least a temporary fix.


One option was for the landscaping contractor to control the irrigation by programming each controller separately. Suffice it to say, but this is not a very attractive option because it will take at least a full day to do it. It would also mean trying to coordinate the amount of water that each irrigation controller was using at any given time, since they all shared two water sources. Too much water flowing at a time results in low water pressure, poor sprinkler coverage and poor lawn appearance.

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