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Maintain Your Turfgrass While Saving Water


Challenge

At the Town of Prescott Valley, the goal was to maintain high-quality turfgrass and healthy plants, while being water wise and efficient in usage. The Parks & Recreation department maintains roughly 350 acres of parks and open spaces. Within that is about 45 acres of irrigated turf, split up between 18 different sites all around town, as well as thousands of shrubs and trees. In Prescott Valley’s dry climate, it's been increasingly tough to keep turf healthy without using a substantial amount of water. The wind coupled with the lack of rainfall has really put the pressure on the Parks & Rec staff to keep the plants healthy. The town did not have any weather-based programming; if it rained and staff wasn't there to shut down controllers, everything would continue to water. And of course, the town needed a solution that made financial sense, considering the tight municipal budget.

Solution

“I began researching central control systems and was quickly directed towards ETwater. The web-based feature mixed with the weather and ET based programming was exactly what we were looking for,” said Nick Groblewski, Parks Supervisor, Parks & Recreation, Town of Prescott Valley

The Town received a $21,000 grant from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which paid for most of the equipment at the seven parks with 30 acres of turf in the first year phase of the program. The town contributed labor and materials to install the equipment.

Results

After installation of ETwater at seven of the eighteen sites the Town was able to:

  • Lower water use by 15% in year one.
  • Save over five million gallons of water.
  • Reduce water bill by $18,000.
  • Capture a 75% return on investment in first year.

Based on these successful results, the US Bureau of Reclamation awarded the Town $21,000 in second year grant money for additional ETwater units at town parks.

Jason Elmer, the Town’s Parks and Recreation Manager has been very pleased with the new system and the results as well: "It is operating as expected. Electronically controlled “smart” irrigation technology combined with direct supervisory oversight of a knowledgeable person like Nick is the most efficient method of applying water to our green spaces. At this rate, we will have recouped our costs within the first year of operation, and it will continue to pay dividends for years to come," Elmer said.

Key Benefits

  • Reduced water use and healthier lawns
  • Electronic updates on system status
  • Adjust system remotely via smartphone
  • Less driving = gasoline & labor savings
  • Eligible for generous rebates and grants

“We were pleased that we could maintain the same quality of turf and save over 5 million gallons of water in just the first year. We now have every site on line with ETwater, and are really looking forward to the future results.” -- Nick Groblewski, Parks Supervisor, Parks & Recreation, Town of Prescott Valley

 

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Richard Restuccia

Richard is a water management evangelist. He believes passionately in water efficiency and sees the financial and social benefits far too often to keep a secret. Richard is a spokesperson at industry events and on the Hill to provide direction and insight on landscape water management best practices. Richard puts his words into action through service on various boards and committees. He served on the Irrigation Association's Board of Directors and is a University of California Master Gardener. Richard also writes for other publications and is an award winning contributor to Lawn & Landscape Magazine. In 2014 his efforts were recognized with a “Leadership in Landscape” award. He has a great interest in the supply of clean water for people in developing countries and as an outdoorsman, spends his free time running, swimming and surfing.

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