The City of Palmdale’s water conservation efforts continue to attract national recognition with the City’s “smart irrigation” efforts highlighted in the latest edition of Turf Magazine.

In an article entitled “Less Water for Landscaping,” Turf Magazine examined what a desert city like Palmdale was doing to cope with a decreasing or limited water supply and pending legislation that will require increased monitoring of watering for landscape usage. 

In particular, the article focused on Palmdale’s use of the Rain Bird Maxicom Central Irrigation control system which has enabled the City to save millions of gallons of water while maintaining its landscape districts.

Through the use of our ‘smart technology,’ Palmdale has conserved 72,054,750 gallons of water between 2007 and 2008 alone, despite the fact that 25 new areas were accepted into the City’s landscape maintenance district during that time.

Palmdale’s “smart irrigation” consists of integrating the Maxicom Central Irrigation System with weather information that is provided by the City’s two weather stations that help staff precisely monitor water usage and track problems. The system is so effective it can even tell City staff when a water main breaks.

The weather information includes air temperature, solar radiation, relative humidity, wind speed, wind direction and rainfall. That information is also available free to the public through the Weather Reach Water Management System.

Nearly two decades ago, Palmdale City leaders recognized the need for increased irrigation efficiency due to anticipated water shortfalls from drought conditions and population increases. One of the keys to the City’s success was the introduction in the early 1990s of Maxicom, a high-tech, award-winning water management system called to help conserve precious water, power and labor.

The City of Palmdale’s water conservation ordinance, which was adopted in 1991, has been instrumental in maximizing water use throughout the City by establishing efficient standards for plan approval on all landscape and irrigation projects. Tools utilized by the City to save water include decreasing watering days and times, conducting regular water audits, increasing turf mowing heights, xeriscaping, use of technologies such as the Maxicom water management system, installation of synthetic grass, recycling pool water, installation of water saving devices, point source irrigation, installing water efficient sprinkler heads, aerating turf for maximum water penetration and mulching around plants and shrubs.

Palmdale updated its water ordinance in 2008 to meet the additional requirements of California State Assembly Bill 1881. Living turf is no longer approved for commercial, industrial or residential front yard projects, and all new landscaping and renovated substandard landscaping that require permits is now also required to have an approved ET based irrigation controller.  In addition, all new landscaping must abide by a water budget determined by a state formula.

In 2008, the Irrigation Association (IA) named the City of Palmdale as the winner of its national Energy and Conservation Award for 2008. The National Energy and Conservation Award recognizes substantial achievements in this area related to irrigation procedures, equipment, methods and techniques.

For more information on Palmdale’s water conservation program or water ordinance, contact the public works department at 661/267-5300.