IA addresses stance on California water restrictions

May 4, 2015 -  By

irrigation_association_logoThe Irrigation Association (IA) addressed its stance on California’s mandatory water restrictions in a letter to California Gov. Jerry Brown.

On April 1, Brown issued mandatory water restrictions for the state, ordering cities and towns to cut potable water use by 25 percent. According to IA, this directive came less than two weeks after the State Water Resources Control Board ordered two irrigation restrictions that relate to residential and commercial irrigation. The first restriction prohibits irrigating turf or ornamental landscapes during, and 48 hours after, measurable precipitation, while the second limits the number of days per week customers can irrigate.

The association expressed its dedication to helping reach the 25 percent water reduction, but it also stated concerns it had regarding the restrictions.

“The Irrigation Association remains committed to partnering with you, your administration, the legislature and water agencies to not only help achieve a full 25 percent reduction in the state’s potable water use, but also to continue best practices and responsible water use through the duration of this drought, and after these drought conditions end,” said IA Government and Public Affairs Director John Farner in his statement to Brown.

The IA explained its concerns about the restrictions, stating they could “stifle the adoption and creation of new technological innovations in irrigation.” It went on to explain the use of smart controllers as a solution to water conservation.

“Smart controllers are not your run-of-the-mill ‘clock and calendar’ controllers, where users program a zone to irrigate for a defined amount of time on certain days of the week,” said Farner. “Rather, smart controllers irrigate to the need of the plants being irrigated.”

According to the IA, smart controllers irrigate to the needs of the landscape, and they have the ability to reduce water use by 20 to 40 percent.

Finally, the association challenged the board over the statement, “irrigating outdoor ornamental landscapes is a questionable use of a limited resource when communities are running out of water in this fourth year of drought,” saying managed landscapes provide numerous environmental, economic and social benefits that many Californians have come to depend on throughout the years.

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