Reducing water use goes beyond individual residential irrigation systems. Woodbury also has approximately 140 homeowners associations that use a significant amount of water for lawn irrigation.

That's why the city recently partnered with the South Washingon Watershed District to begin implementing the limited Homeowner Association (HOA) Inigation Retrofit Pilot Study. The project is a multiyear initiative (2015-2016). It was developed to educate, encourage and assist HOA property owners in retrofitting their existing irrigation systems with "smart" controllers and other water efficiency technologies.

To date, nine HOAs have participated in the program, covering approximately 1,000 residential units with several other HOA projects in the works for 2016. "To help us measure success, we are working with participating HOAs to track water use following the retrofits and comparing the results to previous years," said Jim Westerman, utilities superintendent. "This allows us to evaluate the impact of the technologies and make adjustments for future programs and recommendations."

Beechwood of Dancing Waters
There is some initial evidence of success. Last summer, the Beechwood of Dancing Waters Townhome Association Board steered an effort to partner with Horticulture Services to replace its existing irrigation system with a "smart" irrigation system. The goal was to install a system that would provide better system control, resulting in a significant reduction in water use.

In spring 2015, existing controllers were replaced by a computer software system that monitors controller operation, obtains real-time water usage data, and makes zone adjustments as necessary. Weather data such as temperature, rainfall, wind, humidity and other factors are used by the controller to automatically adjust zone operation frequency and run times. The installed system is expected to reduce water usage by approximately 20 to 40 percent.

The townhome association earned a 2015 Environmental Excellence Award from the city for its efforts. "Homeowners associations should contact a qualified contractor and learn more about moisture sensor technology and irrigation control upgrades," Westerman said. "Investing in improvements may significantly reduce water use and save thousands of dollars over the life span of the irrigation system."

*This article was written and provided by the City of Woodbury. For more information about this City of Woodbury's water programs, please visit their website at
Article by | Tuesday July 19, 2016