Garden City, Kansas Lives Up to Its Name with Smart Irrigation
“WeatherTRAK has changed our entire approach to water use. I can’t say enough about how user-friendly the system has been. We were up and running in a few hours – saving water from the moment we flipped the switch.”— Andy Liebelt
Superintendent of Public Grounds
- 37% water savings at one site
- Pilot extended to cover rest of the city
With its harsh, desert-like climate, frequent winds rip across the flat landscape of Garden City, Kansas. Garden City goes without rain for months at a time, but it is situated above a large, underground aquifer. The city maintains roughly 115 irrigation controllers to supply water to its roadside landscapes and parks. Every Spring, groundskeepers had to manually turn on every controller, and then turn them off in the Fall. When it rained, the groundskeepers were called on to manually pause every controller, and then turn them all back on again after the rain stopped. The city watered everything with the same schedule, regardless of soil or plant type. When plants appeared to be overwatered, personnel thought there might be a broken valve or leak. The city consulted with SiteOne Landscape Supply to figure out a better way to manage both its human and water resources more effectively.
After piloting an irrigation system that was expensive, and hard to install and optimize, the city’s key account manager at SiteOne, Kevin Marks, recommended that they try WeatherTRAK. The results were immediately clear. The irrigation controllers no longer watered areas that didn’t need it. The controllers automatically turned off after it rained. The city chose to manage water as a precious resource, even though it did not have to pay for it.
Andy Liebelt, Garden City’s superintendent of public grounds, appreciates the software tools which help him monitor the city’s water usage from his computer. With WeatherTRAK Central, he can track what his team of 10 full-time employees (and part-time seasonal workers in the summer) are doing, as well as identify any issues that he needs them to address.
Another benefit, system alerts, gives personnel immediate notifications for issues like line breaks. Left unaddressed, water leaks could result in larger issues and possibly overtime work to fix them. These alerts were a huge improvement over using plant health to identify underlying problems. With WeatherTRAK, they use less water in shorter watering windows, taking advantage of best practices and daily climate data. The city also embraced the online training at HydroPoint University to make sure they know how to get the most out of their system. As a result of the success of this pilot program, they are now moving forward to install smart irrigation controllers throughout the city.
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