Water Rationing and Drought Ordinances Render Weather-Based Smart Controllers Ineffective.
MAY 20, 2009, SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA -- Everyone in California is well aware that the seriousness of the drought has caused lawmakers to pass strict water rationing ordinances which define irrigation watering restrictions for landscaped properties. Weather and sensor based "smart controllers" which do not run fixed irrigation schedules must now be taken off "ET" (weather driven) scheduling and must now be taken off soil moisture sensing so that watering schedules will run on specific days and for only limited number of minutes. Smart controllers must be turned back into traditional programmable timers.
Prescriptive drought ordinances ban landscape watering on certain days and set limits of the allowed number of watering minutes. These new ordinances conflict with the watering methods that are used by weather-based scheduling which vary from day to day, hour to hour and the length of time a station can water.
Property owners which recently purchased smart water technologies and installed low-flow irrigation products will be facing a real challenge to abandon weather based watering and sensor driven irrigation scheduling in order to comply with these new ordinances that limit which days to water and how much can be watered in a 24 hour period. Limits on irrigation watering minutes will mean that properties will want to take out low-flow heads and reinstall the old high-flow heads so as to maximize the amount of water that can be sprayed during the available minutes of watering.
In addition, landscapers will want to saturate the landscape grounds on allowed watering days so as to compensate for the lack of watering on those days not allowed.
Even though, in some water districts, various types of exemptions may be approved for smart water technologies or "best water management practices" other water districts will offer no exemptions. Such smart water technologies will need to be converted back into programmable timers so that fixed watering schedules can be set.
Utilities have the power to add or remove exemptions at any time, so properties must be prepared for swift regulatory actions.
Water conservation has now shifted from sponsored programs which offered "water savings tips, recommendations, and education" to real enforcement and compliance of drought ordinances. Non-compliance will result in heavy fines, installation of restrictors on meters, water service shut off, and even misdemeanor citations.
Given that drought enforcement is starting next month, property owners will need "proof of compliance" in order to defend themselves against erroneous citations. Water2Save offers Drought ManagerTM service which guarantees customers that they are in compliance with watering restrictions. Being out of compliance could mean the loss of the entire irrigated landscaping should water service be terminated or a utility flow restrictor placed on the water meter.