CITRUS COUNTY CELEBRATES SMART IRRIGATION MONTH Helps Customers Save Water & Money
Citrus County Department of Water Resources supports July as Smart Irrigation Month. Smart Irrigation Month is a public awareness campaign to promote efficient water use. Focused on July, traditionally the month of peak demand for outdoor water use, the campaign highlights simple practices and innovative technologies to:
§ Make maintaining green spaces easy and convenient
§ Minimize overwatering while maintaining a healthy lawn, garden and landscape
§ Save money on utility bills
§ Help protect community water supplies for today and the future
“Whether irrigating from a private well or a public utility, we all pull water from the same source in Citrus County,” said Debra Burden, water conservation manager, Department of Water Resources. She added, “Smart irrigation is a priority for the utility because more than fifty percent of water the utility produces is used for landscape irrigation.”
Now, more so than ever, consumers can find irrigation products that use advanced sensors, Wi-Fi and app-based capability to automatically adjust watering schedules, communicate problems and save water, giving consumers more data and power to control irrigation systems than ever before.
“Smart” irrigation systems irrigate landscapes efficiently. Without wasting water, these systems use technology to know when and how much to irrigate. The days of manually adjusting the controller to meet seasonal water needs are over. WaterSense labeled smart controllers use real-time data to apply the right amount of water at the right time of day throughout the year.
By investing in smart irrigation technologies, citizens can be sure to save water, money and time in caring for their landscape. One irrigation technology worth considering is a weather-based controller. These controllers adjust the irrigation schedule based on local weather conditions. There is a wide range of products in this category with various weather inputs and landscape-specific adjustment factors. These controllers self-adjust and require very little intervention when programmed correctly. Citrus County Utilities provides a $150 credit on water bills for installing a Water Sense labeled irrigation controller. Learn more about weather-based controllers at https://www.epa.gov/watersense/irrigation-controllers.
Another technology to consider are rain/freeze sensors. While not necessarily smart in terms of advanced technology, rain/freeze sensors are smart enough to stop the irrigation system from operating after sufficient rainfall or during low temperatures. Irrigating in rain and freezing conditions needlessly wastes water and can damage the landscape. These inexpensive devices can reduce overall water use and help extend irrigation system life. CCU offers a $50 credit on the water bill for replacing a rain sensor.
The utility also offers smart irrigation educational opportunities, like at-home irrigation efficiency trainings to its customers and free Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ classes open to all citizens. Visit http://ccufflprogram.eventbrite.com/ for a complete list of classes.
According to Burden, smart programming participants reduced water use up to 25 percent on an annual average and saved more than 100 million gallons of water in 2018. Utility customers interested in participating can call 352-527-7669.
Smart Irrigation Month is an initiative of the Irrigation Association, a non-profit industry organization dedicated to promoting efficient irrigation. Visit www.smartirrigationmonth.org to learn more.