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Delaying irrigation system startups may help avoid irrigation ban

Property owners are encouraged to wait until the temporary water treatment facility is fully operational this summer before turning on their irrigation systems. Delaying irrigation system startups may help avoid an irrigation ban.

The additional watering restrictions may be needed due to seven of the city’s wells being taken out of service because of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The irrigation ban will only be needed until the temporary water treatment facility – currently under construction near the intersection of Valley Creek Road and Tower Drive – is operational later this summer.

If water demand approaches the amount the city can supply with the seven wells out of service, the total lawn irrigation ban will be necessary to avoid a loss of water pressure in the system. Once the water system loses pressure, contaminants can enter the water distribution system. With a pressure loss, the Minnesota Department of Health will issue a “boil water order,” which means residents will be required to boil the water to ensure it is safe prior to consuming it.

While an irrigation ban is not yet in effect, it is important to remember the city’s lawn watering policy allows lawn sprinkling on an odd/even schedule (only before noon and after 5 p.m.). However, just because the city allows watering on an odd-even schedule, doesn’t mean residents and businesses need to water that often. To keep your lawn green, it only needs 1 inch of water per week, including rainfall.

When the treatment facility opens and it is time to water your lawn, make sure you know how to operate your irrigation system, including how to adjust various sprinkler settings. Here are a few tips:

  1. Turn the system’s automatic function off. Adjust the controls manually when it needs water. To learn more about WaterSense certified controllers, see “Water efficiency programs” below.
  2. If you notice an area of your yard needs more water, change the setting on that zone or adjust the sprinkler heads watering that specific area.
  3. Replace heads with high efficiency, pressure reducing heads. Make adjustments so water is delivered as close to the turf as possible. This minimizes water lost to evaporation.
  4. Observe your system in action. Adjust nozzles and irrigation duration as needed to ensure most efficient use of water possible. Make sure water is not sprinkling hard surfaces such as sidewalks, roadways and driveways. If water is running off your grass, you’re using too much.
  5. When talking to your lawncare company, ask them what you can do to reduce water use and decrease the amount of time you spend mowing, without changing the look of your yard.
More tips for smart water use

The lawn watering policy is in effect year-round and applies to private well owners, too. First-time offenders are not exempt. Complying with the watering regulations not only will conserve water but also may prevent you from receiving a $50 citation (first offense).

Special watering permits for newly-placed sod and seed are available under the existing odd/even and time of day restrictions. Special water permits will not be available if increased water restrictions are implemented.

Water efficiency program for homeowners
In an effort to help residents save money by saving water, the city will once again be offering the Smart Irrigation Controller Program. Through this program, the City of Woodbury purchases WaterSense-certified smart irrigation controllers in bulk and sells them back to residents for only $35 (retail value: $230).

Smart controllers are certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to save your home at least 20 percent of your outdoor water use. Studies conducted by the University of Minnesota have shown these controllers save an average of 49 percent of outdoor water use for homes in Woodbury. They work by connecting to your home’s WiFi and reading local weather reports and forecasts to decide whether or not your yard needs additional water. Smart controllers do this automatically and can be controlled by your smartphone, computer or smart home device.

Water Wise LogoNew this year, smart irrigation controllers will be shipped to all program participants. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be delays in shipping. Thank you for your patience during this time!

Learn more and purchase your smart controller

Irrigation efficiency program for commercial properties
The city also implements a multi-year cost-share program to support the installation of state-of-the-art irrigation technologies to existing, large irrigation systems. This program is designed to provide a structured procedure for the implementation of the water efficiency improvement incentives for customers paying commercial and residential irrigation rates, including businesses and homeowner associations. 

The city will share up to 50 percent of the cost (not to exceed $8,000 per metered property over the life of the program) to eligible irrigation customers seeking to improve the water efficiency of their existing systems. Projects must receive city approval before hiring a contractor or spending funds.

Learn more and apply