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Water saving trends, tools and tips for your SF Bay Area landscape

Irrigation technology is becoming more efficient.
Our post lists trends and tips you can use to irrigation more efficiently. 

Smart Irrigation Controller Trends
What you need to know about trends in Smart Irrigation Controllers

It’s about accessibility!
And, cloud storage.
Controlling your system on any device anywhere.  All you need is an app.
Access using your cell service or WiFi.

Remote access on your device enables you to

Program the controller.
Revise schedules; start and stop.
Manage water budgets.
They can detect leaks. 
User will receive real time notifications, saving precious time and water for homeowners and Property Managers.

Programming a Smart Irrigation Controller is more complex
Get training or hire a professional

To fully utilize their water saving capability a ton of data needs to be entered correctly.
For example: soil type, slope information, sun or shade, plant types and type of irrigation.

Weather data is accessed via the web or local weather stations.
Historical weather data can help with a watering schedule and it can serve as a back up if there is an interruption in service.

See our previous blog for rebate information.  Depending on the district, there might still be rebates for purchasing smart irrigation controllers.

Irrigation Tips

Practices that will save you water

Hydrozone your plants
It just means grouping your plants by their water needs.  Your drought tolerant plants are mixed in with water loving plants neither will be happy.  You will either have crispy leaves or root rot.
Example: seasonal color beds have different water needs from turf areas.  They should have separate valves.

Pay attention to the water needs of maturing plants
Their water needs may change as they grow.

Manage your irrigation system’s water pressure
Adjust as needed.  An example: too much pressure will cause runoff and waste water. 
Older sprinkler nozzles may need replacing.  See below on trends and tools for irrigation.

Irrigation Trends & Tools

Spray Irrigation Trends | Pros & Cons

It is designed to irrigate with a high volume of water using spray heads.
It is best for large turf areas that are wide and flat.

Pros

It is easy to repair.
Spray patterns are adjustable.
Water is distributed uniformly.

Cons

They waste water due to evaporation and runoff.
Because water is applied to foliage – there is potential of plant disease.
Winds will reduce its efficiency of application.
They are only 50-70 percent effective.


Trends
High efficiency nozzles can reduce water use.
We recommend them when appropriate.  “They require longer irrigation run times.
“Make sure you are aware of your plant water needs”, says Paul Swanson, thirty-year veteran of GGI and the company’s Director of Business Development.

Drip Irrigation Trends| Pros and Cons

For plants other than turf, drip is most efficient.  Over 90 percent. 
Water is released slowly and directly into the soil from its emitters.

Pros

The water goes directly to the base of the plant.
It costs less to install, than a sprinkler system.
Water is applied slowly.  Particularly good for slopes.  It minimizes the chance of runoff.
Lower water use; less waste.
Less contact with foliage. Less chance of disease.

Cons

Because the tubing is below ground, repairs are more complicated.
It requires regular maintenance to ensure plant health.  This is the only way to confirm that the system is releasing sufficient water.
Tubing can become blocked so periodic flushing is a necessary part of maintenance.

Conclusion

Not only does California have to plan for potential droughts, but the reality is that water prices will continue to rise.
A study contracted by the Institute for Public Utilities states that water and sewer rates are growing by an average of 7 percent a year.  This exceeds income growth.  The reason – customer revenues are no longer sufficient for utilities to recoup rising operating costs.

Sources

The irrigation experts at Gardeners’ Guild
Irrigation Association
Love your landscape
Turf Magazine

 

 

 

 

 

dollars and cents


Take advantage of these 2018 SF Bay Area Water District Rebates while they last.

Water conservation rebates for 8 SF Bay Area districts. 
Everything you need to know including how much you will save, prerequisites and other details.
Plus links to each district.

Commercial and residential water district rebates.

Most popular are the “cash for grass” programs.
Also rebates for efficient irrigation equipment. 
Want a printable report? See link below.

SF Bay Area Water Smart Landscape Rebates
 

Residential*

Lawn Conversion Rebate**

$.50 per square foot of lawn removed.

Add $.25 per square foot when you convert the lawn area sprinklers to qualifying in-line drip irrigation

Add $1.50 per square foot when you qualify for California’s separate lawn conversion program – residential only.

Rebates up to $2,000

**Must have an existing lawn

Irrigation equipment rebate – includes

Rebate may not exceed $2,000 for residential and multi-family properties (with 4 units or less)

  • Conversion – from sprinklers to in-line drip
  • Replace conventional sprinkler nozzles with high-efficiency ones. 
  • Smart/weather-based controllers to replace conventional ones.
  • Install a system-wide brass/bronze pressure regulator.
  • Irrigation submeter – install a submeter to improve leak detection and manage water use.

Commercial & Multi-Family*

Lawn Conversion Rebate**

$.50 per square foot of lawn removed.

Add $.25 per square foot when you convert the lawn area sprinklers to qualifying in-line drip irrigation

Rebates Up to $15,000

 **You must have an existing lawn

Irrigation equipment rebate – includes

Rebate may not exceed $12,500 for commercial and large residential properties.

For qualifying EBMUD commercial customers

  • Conversion – from sprinklers to in-line drip
  • Replace conventional sprinkler nozzles with high-efficiency ones. 
  • Smart/weather-based controllers to replace conventional ones.
  • Install a system-wide brass/bronze pressure regulator.
  • Irrigation Submeter – Install a submeter to improve leak detection and manage your water use.

Residential

$2 per square foot of turf removed, for up to 1,000 square feet and a maximum rebate of $2,000 per household.

This program is administered by the State of California.

Laundry to Landscape Graywater program.  Applies to single-family or 2-unit residential property. For more information.

Commercial & Multi-Family

There are no SFPUC Commercial rebates


Residential

Up to $50 for each item on the list below

Up to $250 for All Five

Applies to single-family and duplex residential customers only.

  • Pool covers
  • Organic mulch
  • Laundry-to-landscape system components:
  • Rain barrels

Turf conversion

Receive up to $2 per square foot – up to $2,000. Per household

Program funded by the State of California

Commercial

Turf conversion

Up to $2 per square foot

Commercial, industrial and institutional sites, as well as multi-family residential sites in areas served by dedicated irrigation meters are eligible

To qualify, a minimum of 1,000 square feet of turf must be removed


Residential

Cash for Grass program

Remove automatically irrigated lawn.

Replace with District approved, low-water use planted landscapes.

Up to $50 per 100 square feet of lawn area.

The incentive is limited to $400 for single family dwellings, $100 for townhouses or condominiums, and $50 for apartments.

Weather Based Irrigation Controller Rebate

Uses weather data and site information to automatically adjust watering schedules. Increases water use efficiency. Reduces run-off and improves the health of your landscape. It can save 30% or more on your landscape water use. It is less expensive than you might think.

Rebate amount: $100 or $30 per active station up to $1,200 per controller, whichever is greater. Rebate cannot exceed the purchase price of the Smart Controller

Commercial

Cash for Grass program*

Remove automatically irrigated lawn.

Replace with District approved, low-water use planted landscapes.

Up to $50 per 100 square feet of lawn area.

The incentive is limited to $400 for single-family dwellings, $100 for townhouses or condominiums, and $50 for apartments.

*The commercial rebate is approved on a case-by-case basis. Call 415-761-8944 for more information

**this district serves Novato area and parts of West Marin


Residential

Efficient Irrigation

Up to $100.00 max for pre-qualified equipment from this list

Options – See link for details.

  • Drip irrigation retrofit.
  • High-efficiency nozzles able to popup 6” or higher
  • Rain/weather sensor – optional
  • Weather-based irrigation controller

Cash for Grass

$.50/sq ft up to max of 500 sq ft or $250.

Must be pre-qualified

Review details in this link

Efficient Irrigation

Up to $1,000. Max per meter for pre-qualified equipment

Options – See link for details

  • Drip irrigation retrofit
  • High-efficiency nozzles able to popup 6” or higher
  • Rain/weather sensor required
  • Weather-based irrigation controller

Cash for Grass

$.50/sq ft up to max of 5,000 sq ft or $2,500.

Must be pre-qualified

Review details in this link


Napa Rebates

Residential

Cash for Grass program

Converting high water use turfgrass with district approved, low-water use, drip-irrigated plants or permeable hardscape materials.

Receive up to $1 per square foot –Per household

Maximum of $750 for Single-Family Residential

(equivalent to 750 sq. ft)

Supplemental funding is also available while it lasts – by the State of California

Commercial  

Cash for Grass program

Converting high water use turfgrass with district approved, low-water use, drip-irrigated plants or permeable hardscape materials.

Receive up to $1 per square foot –Per household

Maximum of 2,500 for Commercial/Multi-Family

(equivalent to 2,500 sq.)


Solano County Rebates

Residential

Up to $50 for each item on the list below

Up to $250 for All Five

Applies to single-family and duplex residential customers only.

  • Pool covers
  • Organic mulch
  • Laundry-to-landscape system components:
  • Rain barrels
  • Hot water recirculating systems

Smart irrigation controller rebate

Rebate up to $300, $700, or $1000 depending on the number of stations

Commercial  

Turf replacement  

Receive up to $1 per square foot – up to a maximum of 5,000 square feet for customers who replace turf with water-wise landscaping. 

Smart Irrigation Controller rebate  

Receive up to $1,000.

Customized Water Efficiency Rebate  

Provides rebates (amount not shown) for water efficiency improvements to irrigation systems as well as indoor water using appliances. 

Customer must meet certain criteria to be approved.

Program ends June 2018, or when funds are depleted.


Contra Costa Rebates

Residential

Turf replacement  

Get up to $1,000 by replacing your water-thirsty front lawn with a water-wise landscape.

Smart irrigation controller rebate

$12 per active (used) irrigation station (zone) up to 50% of the list cost of the controller(s). Limit one rebate per customer per address.

Get up to $50 for equipment and installation on a qualifying system.

Pool Cover Rebate

Get up to $50 back on a qualifying pool cover.