When Water is Worth It's Weight in Gold29 July 2014
Water is about to become more valuable than gold – in California that is. Due to extreme levels of drought across the state over the past few years, independent experts are predicting that water rates are soon to skyrocket, making them higher than the price of gold.
With no rain or snow for most of California in the past three years, 2014 has turned out to be one of the driest in the state’s 164-year history. According to the US Monitor, one-third of California is in a state of ‘exceptional drought’ — the most severe level of drought conditions. ‘Extreme drought’ coverage, the second worst category, has now climbed to 67%. This is almost twice the level of extreme drought that was recorded in the drought of 2007.
Recognising the severity of this historic drought, California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency twice this year, and is attempting to speed up the actions necessary to reduce its harmful effects. He has called on all Californians to double their efforts in conserving water.
While Californian communities are implementing voluntary conservation efforts, they are falling short of making a real impact on the overall drought challenges California faces.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. One town has had great success in reducing their water usage – and it’s all thanks to some proactive thinking and Weathermatic’s Smartlink system.
The City of LaVerne, California, began taking proactive measures to reduce its overall water use way back in 2012 and the effort is proving fruitful in many ways.
LaVerne’s primary conservation focus has been on the water used to irrigate their 120 acres of city parks. The city’s council originally set out to improve the appearance of the parks, but when they began looking at incoming water bills and seeing just how much water was being used, they uncovered a serious problem. LaVerne’s irrigation system controllers were from multiple manufacturers and from multiple decades because they’d been slowly replaced one by one. These out-dated controllers were causing water waste, unhealthy plants, and required excessive maintenance.
Parks Department Maintenance Manager Anthony Ciotti, and Director of Public Works Dan Keesey took immediate action to reduce the levels of waste by upgrading the Parks Department’s irrigation system and installing 122 Weathermatic SmartLine controllers all equipped with wireless or hard-wired weather stations and a connection to the SmartLink Wireless Landscape Network. The SmartLine controller was chosen because it was affordable, simple to install and manage, and had all of the high-tech functions the council required. Each weather station provides the controllers with real-time, local weather data so they can automatically adjust their irrigation based on how much moisture the landscape actually needs each day, as opposed to using an estimate based on previous seasons. The SmartLink Wireless Landscape Network enables the Parks’ team to program and monitor all 122 controllers from a computer, rather than having to send someone out to each individual controller to make changes manually.
Since upgrading to Weathermatic products, LaVerne’s parks have saved 30-35% on their water use from month to month over the last two years. With farms in jeopardy, wildfires raging and every drop of water being scrutinised, the City of LaVerne’s conservation success has proven how just one affordable investment can have a lasting impact.
To find out more about Weathermatic’s range of water saving solutions, visit www.reece.com.au/irrigation