Tapping into Technology to Conserve Water
May 14, 2019
by Carlos Collard
A version of this article originally appeared in the April/May edition of Seascape.
In response to the historic drought in recent years, the City of Santa Monica began implementing a variety of water-saving measures.
One of the ways the City reduced water use in parks and other public landscape areas was by updating aging irrigation equipment. Over the past several years, the Public Works Department’s Public Landscape Division, which maintains the City’s parks, public trees and other landscaped areas, converted the conventional pop-up sprinkler heads at 32 sites to drip irrigation, which uses on average 20-50% less water.
In addition, 107 smart irrigation controllers have been installed at parks and other locations such as Ken Edwards Center and City Hall. Beyond the basics of simply turning sprinklers off and on, smart controllers support the City’s water-saving goals by automatically adjusting run times for weather conditions such as rain and cool temperatures, by controlling water loss, and by detecting when water flow is too high or too low. These changes have made a significant impact on water conservation efforts. Water usage at parks and public landscape sites decreased 30% between 2013 and 2017, and conservation measures are ongoing.