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Woodland: Just Out of the Gate
Smart Irrigation Technology Stories

Post City of Woodland

Population: 55,000 

County: Yolo

Program Highlights

  • Woodland received a grant from the California Department of Water Resources in 2008 to automate all city park irrigation systems.
  • The new system helps the city irrigate parks more efficiently, as well as cope with reduced staff resources due to city budget constraints and a smaller park department’s budget.
  • As a result of the smart irrigation system and based upon the experience of other cities, Woodland estimates that it will reduce water use in agency parks by about 30 percent annually.

The Rest of the Story…

The City of Woodland is an agricultural community about 20 miles northwest of Sacramento.  Until 2007, seven Woodland parks were manually irrigated and city staff traveled to each park to turn sprinklers on and off.  With initial funding from the California Department of Water Resources, 1 the city began a project to improve its irrigation system efficiency by automating park irrigation systems and then connecting them to a central weather-based control system. 

During the first stage of the project, completed between 2008 and 2011, city staff conducted a full irrigation system upgrade at parks that previously used manual systems.  They also installed more efficient sprinkler heads on already automated systems.

The second stage of the project began in 2011 with the city connecting irrigation controllers to a centralized computer-based system.  The city plans to purchase and install a weather station and use the computer system to connect the weather station to irrigation controllers at various city parks. 

Budget cuts limited the ability of city staff to visit parks as frequently, resulting in delays in identifying and repairing irrigation system leaks.  Installing the centralized computer control system allows park staff to monitor the system with the computer and turn off water at specific sites when needed, thus increasing water efficiency even with smaller staff capacity.

Upgrading city parks to smart irrigation technology is part of a larger effort to conserve water community-wide that includes installing water meters and offering rebates to residents to help conserve water.  For example, the city’s Water Conservation Program offers rebates to city residential and commercial water customers for installing weather-based irrigation controllers and for rain sensors in July 2011.2  

Water use in Woodland historically has not been metered, so the city will not know how much water the smart irrigation system actually saves. Based on experience in the other cities, however, Woodland estimates it will reduce water use by about 30 percent annually as a result of the smart irrigation system.

More about smart irrigation technology, lessons learned and other communities experiences below.
1A voter approved local half cent sales tax measure, which funds parks and libraries in Woodland, supplemented grant funding for the project.
2Water customers in Woodland can receive a $150 rebate for installing weather-based irrigation controllers and a $25 rebate (or 50% of the purchase price, whichever is less) for installing rain sensors.

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