The Port Washington Water District (PWWD), as part of its Be Smart and Green, Save 15 water conservation campaign, would like to remind all residents of the mandatory conservation guidelines residents must follow during the hottest stretches of weather this summer. Water consumption increases exponentially in the warmer weather due to residential irrigation systems. All residents are required to follow conservation measures to reduce the periods of high demand that can put unsustainable stress on the supply infrastructure. This year in particular, the District’s proactive measures to take three supply wells offline for the construction of new treatment systems capable of removing the soon-to-be regulated emerging contaminants exacerbates the District’s challenge to continuously meet growing demand.
“Every summer, our water infrastructure is faced with meeting the increasing demand for water caused by residential irrigation systems,” said PWWD chairman David Brackett. “For the next couple of years, the conservation efforts by our community are crucial as our capacity to meet peak demand has been diminished with three of the supply wells out of service while state-of-the-are treatment is constructed.”
During an average winter month, the PWWD pumps 2.5 million gallons per day. However, due to irrigation systems becoming active in the summer, the PWWD pumps an average of 5.6 million gallons per day during the summer. This year, due to multiple stretches of warm and dry weather, there has been an significant increase in pumpage compared to the same time last year.
“Our need to conserve water community wide is not an arbitrary request, but rather one based on data and science,” said PWWD Commissioner Mindy Germain. “This past winter, knowing these three wells were coming offline, we did a comprehensive analysis of our distribution system and pumping capabilities to determine what types of restrictions are needed to balance out our ability to meet expected capacity. Reducing irrigation times per zone by four minutes each, adhering to the District’s mandatory outdoor watering schedule and the installation of smart controllers are necessary to avoid any potential issues meeting the community’s demand. With that said, regardless of the current situation, reducing overall water consumption and ending practices that unnecessarily waste water should always be the goal for this proactive community.”
Replacing a standard irrigation timer with a smart irrigation controller is the most effective way to conserve a significant amount of water. These easy-to-install controllers are web based, which enable them to connect with local weather stations to better predict weather patterns and adjust watering need accordingly. Many of these systems also provide mobile apps that enable the user to adjust sprinkling times remotely. The systems conserve water so well that the District continued to fund a $150 rebate program encouraging residents to make the switch. Residents can apply for the rebate here: http://pwwd.org/conservation/landscape-irrigation-smart-controller-rebate-program-application/
“Residents who switch from a standard clock timer to a smart controller typically see a return on investment in the first year or two,” said PWWD Commissioner Peter Meyer. “Due to the taxing nature of this season on our water supply and distribution system, we are requiring all residents to make changes and ensure they are following with the District’s recommended guidelines. We understand following these measures by cause some inconveniences, but these actions are needed to maintain the integrity and resiliency of our water system today and into the future.”
There are many additional ways residents can join the District’s Be Smart and Green, Save 15 initiative and reduce overall water consumption by also following these simple steps:
- Turn back watering times for each zone by four minutes as it will help save up to 20 percent on overall usage.
- Addresses that fall within a particular geographic zone are required to follow the time schedule for automatic irrigation system watering established within that specific zone (see map below).
- Check for leaks or broken sprinkler heads that waste water unnecessarily.
- Ensure that irrigation clocks are adhering to Nassau County’s Odd/Even Lawn Watering Ordinance
- Ensure automatic rain and soil moisture sensors are working properly.
- If you use a Contractor to startup your system, obtain written certification that the rain and/or soil sensors are working properly.
- Consider installing a smart irrigation controller.
o The District has $150 rebates available to residents who make the switch (learn more at pwwd.org).
- Make good landscaping choices, such as integration of native/drought resistant plans and xeriscaping, as this will lead to lower water usage.
On July 1, the District began issuing warnings to residents who are not adhering to the mandatory guidelines. The District has no intention of penalizing residents who do not comply, but are hopeful the warnings will draw the needed attention to the seriousness of the matter at hand. Should noncompliance with the guidelines continue, the District will reevaluate its position and see if penalties can be applied.
For additional information about water conservation and tips to save water around the home, call 516-767-0171 or visit the Port Washington Water District website at www.pwwd.org.
-Submitted by the Port Washington Water District