Somersett’s irrigation system is about to get a major upgrade. The Board approved a proposal from BrightView to install 24 WeatherTRAK smart irrigation controllers in common areas along the entire length of the parkways, at a cost of $154,488.

Perhaps the most exciting feature of the new controllers is their ability to connect to the “cloud’’ and access precise weather data from a weather station in Mogul to create custom irrigation schedules based on plant needs. The result is an efficient system that uses the least amount of water possible. The controllers also “talk’’ to each other, measuring flow and assigning priority and water “windows.” The result is a win-win – a significant reduction in water usage and cost as well as better plant health.

Advantages of using smart controllers:

REDUCED WATER USAGE: A recent audit determined that the common areas along the parkways account for about 45% of all common area water usage. The estimated 20% water-use reduction the new controllers offer should have a big impact on the SOA’s water bill. Based on 2020 water usage and costs, the new controllers would save an estimated $46,000 annually. The actual savings will fluctuate based on weather conditions and the price of water. Nevertheless, a conservative estimate shows the controllers essentially paying for themselves in 3-4 years or less. As an example, a smart controller installed last year on Autumn Ridge Circle has already saved $893 in reduced water costs over three months and is projected to pay for itself by the end of this season.

LEAK CONTROL: Th new controllers have the ability to detect flow and as part of the five-year plan, master valves and flow sensors will be incorporated into the irrigation system allowing the new controllers to recognize high flow (leaks) and shut the water down.

LESS ICE ON ROADWAYS: The controllers are temperature-aware, so they will not water when freezing conditions are detected, greatly reducing the chance of ice forming on the roadway from overspill.

HEALTHIER LANDSCAPE: Turf, trees and shrubs are watered according to need and actual weather conditions resulting in healthier vegetation with less loss due to irrigation stress.

LESS ‘TINKERING’: BrightView technicians will spend less time adjusting the many controllers for weather conditions and more time inspecting and focusing on the system as a whole.

WARRANTY: The new controllers are sturdier than the current ones and come with a 10-year warranty.

The plan is to purchase and install the controllers this fall and winter so the new system will start-up in the spring of 2021.

The Board also approved a proposal from BrightView to install and bury 13,000 feet of new drip-line tubing at a cost of $50,000. The drip lines chosen to be replaced will be based on need.

The new controllers and drip-line replacement projects are part of a five-year master plan to upgrade and improve Somersett’s irrigation system.