Three California cities are becoming green heroes in the state's struggle to preserve dwindling water supplies and stop the destructive effects of water mismanagement. Healdsburg, Newport Beach and Petaluma have implemented the WeatherTRAK smart water management solution to conserve water at parks and other landscaped sites.
City leaders are paying particular attention to landscapes because they consume the majority of non-agricultural water and are typically over-watered by 30-300 percent.
Last year, the City of Healdsburg reduced water use and costs by 28 percent over the previous year after replacing ordinary irrigation controllers installed at parks and a high school with WeatherTRAK smart controllers. Park Superintendent Matthew Thompson explained, "We're proud of how much water we've saved. It's one thing for a city to talk about going green and another to report real results."
The city is now rolling out smart water management to nine additional sites to increase water savings.
Like Healdsburg, the city of Petaluma launched its smart water management initiative at nine city-maintained sites. After seeing water use reduced by 24 percent, the city council moved quickly to install WeatherTRAK smart water management systems at 27 additional locations including the grounds of a police station and museum.
Petaluma also installed the systems at 73 residences. Water use at these homes dropped 35 percent compared to the historical five-year average, saving 3.2 million gallons. Mayor Pamela Torliatt said, "We're very excited about the water savings we're achieving with the WeatherTRAK controllers. The WeatherTRAK team has partnered with us at every step to keep our program smooth-running while we meet sustainability objectives."
Water waste contributes to energy waste and in turn to global warming. For every one million gallons of water four million watt hours of power are expended and 5,360 pounds of C02 are emitted into the atmosphere.
Overwatering has other harmful effects. Each day millions of gallons of landscape water runoff laden with fertilizers, pesticides and other pollutants threaten oceans, wildlife breeding grounds and public health. This urban runoff also causes property damage, resulting in liability and repair costs for local governments and private property owners.
In late 2006, the City of Newport Beach initiated an innovative smart water management program to help protect marine life at Crystal Cove State Beach from urban runoff. More than 600 WeatherTRAK smart controllers installed in watershed areas of the city are reducing runoff by nearly 20,000 gallons per month. A citywide water conservation education campaign is helping to raise public awareness of the direct link between watering landscapes appropriately and protecting local ecosystems.
The WeatherTRAK solution is proven to save four times more water than any other technology. The system eliminates waste by dynamically adjusting water output based on plant needs and changing local weather. Automation also boosts the productivity of landscape maintenance teams since workers no longer need to adjust irrigation systems manually when the weather changes. Cities can redirect maintenance efforts and costs to more critical infrastructure projects.
Chris Spain, president and CEO of HydroPoint Data Systems, said, "Healdsburg, Newport Beach and Petaluma are taking decisive action to address our water crisis and global warming. Their savings are impressive -- millions of gallons of water and watt hours of power as well as significant decreases in carbon footprint and runoff." Spain added, "Other cities looking for a way to lighten the financial and environmental burdens of water mismanagement should follow their lead."