Water World: Irrigation is more than an afterthought

May 8, 2020 -  By

Company: Conserva Irrigation
Location: Target stores across the U.S.

A quarter-billion gallons of water saved, 300-plus store locations, three years of work — all of this encompassed Conserva Irrigation’s irrigation renovation at select Target locations.

It started out as a nine-store project, but from 2017 to 2019, it blossomed into fixing the irrigation systems for the 300 most water-abusing stores across the U.S., according to Target’s data.

“Target had the fortitude to say we want to see if we can shift that irrigation system from a liability to an asset,” says Russ Jundt, founder of Conserva Irrigation. “(Target understood) you can’t address irrigation as an afterthought.”

At the sites, crews addressed all the irrigation leaks. “We fixed the lateral fractures, main line fractures and leaking heads. There were tens of thousands of leaking heads on those systems,” he says.

The team then updated the existing controllers so they fit with the current systems. Jundt notes that while smart irrigation technology can be effective, it’s useless if it’s controlling a faulty system. Challenges included educating Target on the work Conserva performed and standardizing procedures across all locations.

The solution came in what Conserva calls its “Target Playbook,” a standardized operating procedure that it now uses for all national accounts. “We really had to put a series of procedures and protocols in place that made it scalable and repeatable, all the way down to where we park at a Target store, how and where we check in and how we identify and label equipment,” Jundt says.

Soil sensor (Photo: Conserva Irrigation)

Photo: Conserva Irrigation


Conserva trained employees for every aspect of the Target project, including where to park and how to speak to customers who mistake them for Target employees.

Conserva employees in front of Target Superstore sign (Photo: Conserva Irrigation)

Photo: Conserva Irrigation

Russ Jundt (left), Conserva founder and vice president, and Jake Mathre, Conserva director of franchise operation, at a Super Target store location.

Conserva employee (Photo: Conserva Irrigation)

Photo: Conserva Irrigation

Conserva puts its efforts into unbundling irrigation services and repairing faulty irrigation systems.

This article is tagged with , , and posted in Irrigation+Water Management, May 2020
Sarah Webb

About the Author:

Sarah Webb is Landscape Management's former managing editor. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University, where she studied journalism and Spanish. Prior to her role at LM, Sarah was an intern for Cleveland Magazine and a writing tutor.

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