“WeatherTRAK shined a light on a dark subject that people didn’t want to pay attention to. I’ve been most impressed with the top-notch service and training from HydroPoint. They helped us fine tune the system and there’s plenty of training for the team.”— Sam Burris
Turf Grass Specialist
Fairfax County Parks
72 WeatherTRAK controllers installed
Irrigating 255 fields
remote control access with real time notifications
Affluent Fairfax County, Virginia is home to the Central Intelligence Agency, senators, and others who work in the Washington D.C. area. A suburban county with both urban and rural pockets, it features several parks and recreation fields managed by Sam Burris, turf grass specialist for Fairfax County. Burris knows turf, having earned a BA from Penn State in Turf Grass Science and through his previous work for the Washington Redskins and Baltimore Orioles.
He also knows how much water is required to keep the 255 natural turf sports fields he manages healthy. His goal is to maintain the highest possible quality turf, with the lowest possible water use.
“I don’t like wasting water because the cost of potable city water used to irrigate the fields is rising,” says Burris.
CHALLENGE: Narrow Water Windows and Unpredictable Weather Patterns
One of his biggest challenges is the short timeframe available to irrigate and maintain all of the fields when they are not being used. Recreational sports leagues depend on use of fields at scheduled times, typically from eight o’clock in the morning until ten at night. With a buffer of one-hour on either end, this leaves a short 8-hour water window.
Another challenge is adjusting irrigation schedules for changing, unpredictable weather patterns. The summer of 2018 was one of the wettest summers Burris remembers. During a hurricane storm, four inches of rain soaked the county in one weekend. Lately, Fairfax County has seen warmer weather linger until just before Christmas and stronger snow storms coming in the Spring.
SOLUTION: Burris Uncovers Water Leaks with the Help of Smart Irrigation
Fairfax County initiated a smart irrigation pilot about four years ago. After reviewing several options, they selected WeatherTRAK controllers. Today, 72 WeatherTRAK controllers are installed to irrigate 255 fields.
The system was expected to decrease their water consumption but instead it exposed a large number of leaks in their aging infrastructure. The WeatherTRAK data provided Burris and his team with the evidence they needed to request funding for an irrigation audit. These leaks had previously been suspected by groundskeepers, who simply turned off the water and left some fields unirrigated.
Burris credits the WeatherTRAK system for helping them discover leaks that will lead to improvements and eventual water savings. “WeatherTRAK shined a light on a dark subject that people didn’t want to pay attention to,” said Burris. “I’ve been most impressed with the top-notch service and training from HydroPoint,” said Burris. “HydroPoint helped us fine tune the system and there’s plenty of training for the team.”
He also appreciates being able to receive information about the status of the 255 fields he manages remotely. “The mobile app is really nice. If someone complains about something over the weekend, I can usually address it from home,” said Burris. With the help of WeatherTRAK Mobile, Burris and his team have remote control access to each controller and can receive notifications on their cellphones of site issues before they arrive. This reduces the number of back and forth trips by his team of four landscapers to get the right equipment.
Check out how the WeatherTRAK Mobile app makes it easy to remotely manage and control irrigation sites from your home, car, or even while on vacation!