This past weekend, we have performed a study and survey of all sprinkler zones on the property to attempt to better optimize our usage of water.
This was one of the 2018 priorities discussed at the annual meeting due to the high cost of water (and associated sewer) fees that we pay.
As examples, here are the water + sewer costs for the past several years:
2017: $27,803 ($514 per unit)
2016: $28,787 ($533 per unit)
2015: $24,485 ($453 per unit)
2014: $27,305 ($505 per unit)
We have surveyed each of the property’s 27 sprinkler zones for information on density, type of plants, steepness of slope, type of soil, amount of sun, and amount of wind.
This data was entered it into the online Run-Time Calculator provided by Hunter, the manufacturer of one of our sprinkler controllers.
The results gave us a new program for our sprinkler controllers that is scheduled to run for 57% less time than in previous years yet still provide us with fully green landscape.
This program was set into the sprinkler controllers this weekend and should be active for the next several months.
The majority of the savings is for several reasons:
- We adjust on a very granular level with the detailed questionnaire for each zone to provide proper water for each “micro climate”.
- We will save more by using a ‘seasonal adjustment’ feature which scales back the watering program during wetter months and only goes 100% full watering during very hot and dry months. (Note that we have the system off during the rainy winters.)
- We save more by adjusting the way we water to be better aligned with our soil type where it is better to water 2-4 times on watering days for a short amount of time to let water soak in, not run off, and water on fewer days per week.
By contrast, the old program generalized into “shrubs” versus “grass” and watered almost every day of the week once per day for a very long time which we believe was mostly running off and just costing us money.
We also have an option to scale back the water program on the lawns during the hottest, driest months and let just the lawns go brown/dormant to save an estimated additional 27% run time if we choose. This will be discussed at the next meeting and can be decided at any time in the future.
We may have to adjust some of the numbers slightly on programs as we observe things being wetter/dryer than expected to get the program dialed in, but this additional care to our watering program should result in saving money. If you notice something excessively dry or wet, please let us know. Note that watering programs run overnight to limit evaporation so you likely will not see the sprinklers running unless you are a serious night owl.
We’re very excited to try to save money in this area this year and still maintain the beauty of our community.
Please contact us with any additional questions or commentary regarding the new watering programs.